Hawaiian Canoe Blessing

Kimokeo Kapahulehua

The group that I paddle with out of the Kalepolepo Fishpond in Kihei recently added a new wa’a (Hawaiian outrigger canoe) to our fleet and a traditional Hawaiian blessing ceremony took place before her maiden voyage.   The crew, friends and visitors were all invited to participate in the ceremony presided by Kimokeo Kapahulehua (aka Uncle Kimokeo).  Kimokeo is passionate about teaching and preserving native Hawaiian culture. Check out his foundation here http://kimokeo.org/

On February 25th of 2017, Kimokeo lead some 45+ people in the ceremony which included, chanting, clapping, an ‘awa ceremony (‘awa or kava is a bitter root drink which is often seen in ceremonial protocol throughout the Pacific).   We all wore lei made of ti leaves and dressed in traditional kiheis (think a short toga). 6 people were chosen to take the wa’a out on her first trip to sea as a part of the blessing.

The new wa’a (prounounced vah-ah) received the name:

Na Kapuna ka Ono Ulu O ke Kai

I’ll break it down phonetically for my fellow Hawaiian language newbies:

Nah /  Kah poo na   /  kah   /  Oh-no  /  oo-loo  /  Oh /   kay   /   Kai  (like sky)

The word for word translation is:

Na Kapuna = The Ancient Ones (Ancestors)

Ono Ulu = Delicious Breadfruit

O ke Kai = Over All the Seawater

Since Hawaiian is a very contextual language, here’s my rough translation: The Ancestors of great abundance over all the ocean water.  (Moana is Ocean, Kai is the sea or ocean water specifically).

Now to the good stuff!  Photos and Video

Wa’a Blessing Part 1 – Opening Ceremony

Wa’a Blessing Part 2 – ‘Awa ceremony

Wa’a Blessing Part 3 – Crew receive their lei

Wa’a Blessing Part 4 – Blessing the Wa’a

After the blessing, the Na Kapuna (for short) was carried on our shoulders into the water. (Dat buggah is about 500 lbs!).


Double hull canoes launched ahead of the Na Kapuna.  Mahalo to our friends at Kihei Canoe club for lending us their double hulls!

The Na Kapuna and her crew leave the fishpond for the open sea.  The double hull canoes circle around the Na Kapuna.

Mahalo nui loa to Uncle Kimokeo, Auntie Ryn and everyone who made this a beautiful ceremony.  I was honored to be a part of it!

Big Photo Gallery

PS:  I was so very happy and honored to be chosen for the Na Kapuna’s first crew!  I know my face doesn’t show it much in the videos and photos, but I was thrilled to be a part of such a meaningful and auspicious occasion.  And with so many wonderful people! Alas, I think I suffer from RBF (google it ;).




Island time is different than mainland time and especially the hopped up city time I was living on before I got here. Seems every time I look at my watch, I’m surprised that it’s earlier than I thought.  I want to post here more often but then I ask myself  “Do I want to document my experience or do I want to go and participate in the experience?”.  The answer of course is the latter.

Also, I’m up early working and I go to bed early.  A friend of mine here told me that 9pm is Maui midnight.  I totally get that.


I was driving back from a trip to Kahului a couple weeks ago and marveling at the clouds hanging along the mountains (ok volcanoes), the setting sun turning them canary yellow and the shoreline slowly coming into view and realized it right then & there: Dammit I love this place!

Here is a quick snap I took trying to capture the moment - but my phone is pretty lame with capturing the sheer gorgeousness of life here.
Here is a quick snap I took trying to capture the moment – but my phone is pretty lame with capturing the sheer gorgeousness of life here.

Here’s the funny thing – I’m not even a huge fan of heat and humidity has never been my friend (note the curly hair that acts as a hygrometer by the level of frizz).  Go figure. Weather here is pretty much the same daily 82 day / 70 night.


I’ve adjusted to island life, the slower pace, being in nature – not just observing it.  People assume I live here which is pretty amusing and I take it as a compliment.  Tourists ask my advice, people ask me for directions and shop keepers give me the kama’aina discount.  Kama’aina literally translates to ‘child of the land’ but colloquially, it  means you live here. I spoke with a ranger at a nature preserve this week and he assumed I was kama’aina too.  He told me that it was indeed a compliment.  If you are kama’aina you are caretaker of the land & peoples and that not all people who live here are kama’aina. So yay me! 🙂


(There’s much more but here’s a few for now…)

I started paddling with a outrigger club and am totally in love with the sport! After my first outing I was initiated with a short Hawaiian ceremony.  That was incredibly special. I just wish I’d started the week I got here. I’m really not very good at it but I am going to go out every day I can.   I’ve seen flying fish, rainbows and plenty of honu (sea turtles) from the boat. It’s just the start of whale season so we take a device that we can drop in the water to listen for whale song.  So far nothing – but a girl’s got to hope eh? Just getting out in the boat is amazing and the guys I’ve been paddling with are great.  It’s quite a task to paddle through the waves and yes, it can be a bit scary but I totally love it. Why did I have to fall in love with a sport that’s not done too many places besides here?

More pics of living, working, eating and adventuring here on Maui. I’ll catch you up on my favorite place on the island (so far) in the next post.  Yeah, I’ve found my “happy place” and it’s here on Maui. 😉 Also, there is SO much more to explore…