vaka at METC

The seven vaka are docked at the Marine Educational Training Center on Sand Island this week where the crews are all staying as well. They are giving tours of the vaka for anyone who wants to come down and see them and talk to crew members. What an inspiration and a dream to be able to sail on one of these beautiful vessels. The large solar panels provide all the power they need, including for their propellors that they use only when they pull into dock so they donʻt have to be towed.

vaka at METC2


Kamehameha Day

In 1871, Lot Kamehameha, great grandson of the Kamehameha I, proclaimed by royal decree that June 11 would be a known as Kamehameha Day, and every year on this date the people would celebrate the unification of the Hawaiian Islands. June 11 is an arbitrary date, simply a day chosen to remember that a powerful warrior once walked in our midst, one who was not any less brilliant or skilled than any of the great conquerers in world history, and that he brought the Hawaiian Islands under one rule and and that we should celebrate his achievement every year with games and parades.

Before Kamehameha, the Hawaiian Islands were each independent kingdoms that fought back and forth as different rulers endeavored to expand their domains. Chiefs from neighbor islands had always been envious of Oʻahu’s wealth, of our fresh water, our fertile soil, the abundant sea life inhabiting our shores and surrounding ocean. Oʻahu had the highest and some of the most visionary and benevolent chiefs of all the islands, and under them the Kingdom of Oʻahu flourished for centuries, successfully warding off attempted invasions by neighbor island chiefs. Oʻahu was finally conquered in the late 1700’s by Kahekili, a powerful Maui chief and, according to Kameʻeiamoku, father of Kamehameha. He achieved this victory through treachery and a determination to kill whoever got in his way. As invaders and conquerers everywhere do, Kahekili replaced the Oʻahu chiefs and konohiki with his own Maui chiefs who were loyal to him, but who were not particularly good to the new people they now ruled. The Oʻahu chiefs planned a revolt and in turn Kahekili committed genocide, not only of the Oʻahu chiefs but of the men, women and children of Oʻahu as well. Kahekili’s son, Kalanikupule, inherited the Oʻahu Kingdom after his father’s death but lost it to the superior forces of Kamehameha (superior, as in western firearms and military strategies). By this time the population of Oʻahu, including its armies, were decimated, and Kamehamehaʻs bloody victory, which culminated in pushing most of the the remaining Oʻahu warriors over the Nuʻuanu Pali to their deaths, was decisive. Kamehameha then exercised his prerogative as conqueror to replace the Maui chiefs on Oʻahu with the appointment of his own loyal chiefs to positions of power and to distribute the lands as he saw fit. Unlike Kahekili, Kamehameha was much more just towards the people and so they were more accepting of him than they were of their previous conqueror.

Kamehameha descendants became the heirs of Hawaiian lands, which they mostly lost to our next conquerer, the United States, who then installed their own people to rule us. Who is to say what would have happened if Kamehameha had not unified the islands. Maybe the Hawaiian Islands would still be independent to this day, or maybe different islands would be under different flags, like Samoa and American Samoa.

Oʻahu was unified into an island kingdom in the early 1400’s, which is almost 400 years that our island was a nation before we lost our sovereignty to Kahekili. Our Islands became an independent nation under Kamehameha and his descendents for 83 years until we lost our collective sovereignty to America, which has now ruled our islands for 118 years. And so on Kamehameha Day I will celebrate the great chiefs of Oʻahu, who include Māweke, Mā’ilikukahi, Kūkaniloko, Kakuhihewa and their descendants, all of whom who are long gone.


Today my beloved Hehoa was killed by the neighborʻs dog. She was about ten and a half months old, an excellent hunter, runner and climber, often watching me from the top of the refrigerator. All I can think is that she was so focused on hunting something, probably a lizard, that she didnʻt realize the dog was near her. Of course she was in the neighborʻs fenced in yard so while the neighbors feel terrible about it, it wasnʻt anyoneʻs fault.

Hehoa2Hehoa was fearless, something I realized early on and so almost decided that I wouldnʻt let her be an outside cat for concern that she would get herself into trouble. But she was not happy indoors and after she was spayed, I did not want to deprive her any longer of exploring the great outdoors. I let her sister, Makana out all the time, who I was pretty sure didnʻt stray far so it was even more unfair that Hehoa couldnʻt go outside. I live off the street, the neighbor dogs are all fenced in, there are really no predators around, so there was no reason they shouldnʻt go outside and play and hunt (although I did feel badly for the lizards and the occasional dove, whose feathers I would sometimes find). And they thrived. Sometimes when I came home and didnʻt see them around I worried that something may have happened or they may have run away. I told myself that if anything happened, at least they had a good life. And then they would show up.

I had always been reluctant to have a pet because of the attachment I would have to it (I already said that in an earlier blog, when I took a chance and got the kitties). Sure enough, I became very attached to Hehoa. She was affectionate, comical, insistent. Most of all, sweet. I know she was similarly attached to me and now I am devastated. Hehoa was a shining light in my life for the nine and a half months that I was her mom. I donʻt regret a day and I canʻt think of anything I would have done differently and yes, I would do it again. For now Makana is staying close, dealing with her loss and my grief. We will get through this together. He inoa no Hehoa.


Sunset at Maunalua Bay

I almost didn’t go outrigger canoe paddling practice this afternoon because of the thunderstorms pounding the island all day long. But it cleared up at long enough to go out, paddle in calm water and be rewarded with this spectacular sunset looking toward Diamond Head from Maunalua Bay.

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