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January 7, 2014 Lahaina—The New Year was a major boost to Mauiʻs own voyaging canoe, Moʻokiha o Piʻilani, when volunteers moved the finished canoe out of dry dock to begin final construction of superstructure: helm or navigatorʻs platform, captainʻs chair, masts, spars and rigging. Hui o Waa Kaulua crew and volunteers are working hard to finish everything required for DLNR Recreation and Boating inspection and official Marine Survey of the vessel. Hui o Kaulua President Kimokeo Kapahulehua said, ”Our organization is working very hard to get everything done well, and Moʻokiha o Piʻilani is very close to going in the water.”
ʻEverythingʻ means not only carpentry and wood finishing, but also installing safety and emergency equipment required for any vessel this size sailing in U.S. waters. Even though Moʻokihaʻs crew is trained in traditional celestial navigation and wayfinding, when storms threaten lives or integrity of voyaging canoe, an outboard engine, satellite phone, transponding beacon, life jackets, foul-weather gear, bilge pumps, radios and GPS must be available to the crew, by law. Until needed, electronics will be locked in a waterproof storage box on deck, and Moʻokihaʻs Navigator, Kala Baybayan will steer a course by the stars, winds and currents.
“We have never been here before,” says Captain Timi Gilliom. “From this point on, everything done to this canoe will be a first on Maui.” A custom boat trailer designed and machined by Lahaina Welding will transport the vessel. Lahaina Harbor officials have never before inspected a traditional Hawaiian sailing canoe this size. Maui Coast Guard has never processed Marine Registration for a Maui voyaging canoe. And a Hawaiian double-hull of this magnitude has never been launched from Mala Ramp. “Everyone is pretty excited, but there is still a lot of work to do – a lot of finishing, lashing and rigging.”
As the project progresses, more workers are needed. Volunteers may go to the 525 Front Street Dry Dock in Kamehameha Iki Park any day after 9AM to assist in final sanding, lashing, carpentry and electrical work. Hui o Waa Kaulua is also accepting donations for expensive emergency equipment. For further information, visit www.huiowaa.org.
Article Photo: Moʻokiha o Piʻilani on her first day in the sun:
L to R: Volunteers Kalani Kepahulehua, Faavae Maluia, Tahiarii Pariente-Yoram, and Navigator, Kala Baybayan.
Photo by: Leilani Lynne Hasbrook
Photo of Voyaging Canoe in Kamehameha Iki Park by Jeffrey Balinbin
Photo of Navigator Kala Baybayan and Captain Timi Gilliom by Katherine Smith