In addition to our usual round-up of ongoing ‘ukulele, bass, lap steel, and hula classes and individual workshops, we’ve got a few other activities planned to make sure you get everything possible out of your stay in Hawai’i: star gazing with a pwo navigator, hikes to ancient temples, an ‘ukulele beach party, outrigger canoeing, and more.
Maka o Hule Navigation Heiau
Those hoping to absorb some local history can join us for a short (1.8 mile) early-morning hike and photo opportunity along the lovely Kohala coast, as we stroll past inviting crystal clear coves before taking a very short scramble up to Maka o Hule Navigation Heiau, an ancient temple of upright stones that point, with remarkable accuracy, to ancient seafaring destinations thousands of miles away, a testament to the unsurpassed navigational skills of the ancient Polynesians.
At least a century before the Europeans made landfall in the Americas, Polynesians were actively engaged in trade with various peoples in South America and North America, voyaging out of sight of land for weeks at a time, navigating thousands and thousands of miles of open ocean without a compass or chronometer, using their encyclopedic knowledge of the sun, the moon, the and the stars, tides, winds, currents, clouds, ocean swells, and animal migration and weather patterns.
Polynesian navigators, trained to have acute powers of observation and memory, were also priests and as such were responsible for conducting the rituals of their profession, invoking spiritual help in their voyages, and passing their profound skill and knowledge on to the next generation. This they did with songs or chants at temples such as Maka o Hule, where we will have an opportunity to view and appreciate the sacred stones pointing across the vast and tempestuous Pacific Ocean to the islands of Tahiti, the Marquesas, and the other Southern Islands.
Optional Outrigger Canoeing
While you won’t be paddling across vast stretches of the Pacific, through a special arrangement with the local canoe club, you can take an hour-plus ride with paddling instruction down at Kawaihae for a $100 surcharge. What a great way to experience Hawai’i as the Hawaiians do and to kick-off our annual Beach Party BBQ and KaniKaPila, held this year at Spencer Beach State Park.
But if outrigger canoeing doesn’t float your boat, you can join us for a short walk along the Ala Kahakai, a National Historic Trail, followed by +tour of Pu’ukoholā Heiau, one of the best-preserved and most significant temple sites in Hawai’i, built by Kamahameha the Great and dedicated to the war god, Ku.
This is just a smattering of the Hawaiian history to be learned here…..all within a few steps of Spencer Beach, one of the few white-sand beaches on the Big Island, where, after our tour, we will eat and swim and snorkel and kanikapila until they toss us out.
But wait! There’s more……
Star Gazing at Kawaihae
“If there are conflicts, the navigator must resolve them; if there is sickness, the navigator’s responsibility is to heal; if there is damage, the navigator must repair it. His kuleana is to sail and bring back gifts to his home island.”
After the barbecue and before we head home for the evening, we will be joined by Chadd ‘Ōnohi Paishon, one of the very few living pwo navigators and captain of Hawai’i Island’s own voyaging canoe, Makali’i, and the voyaging organization Nā Kālai Wa‘a. As the stars begin to fill the sky, Chadd will guide us on a fascinating star gazing voyage through the darkness, a perfect way to cap an extraordinary afternoon at Kawaihae.
And all of this is in addition to daily classes and workshops in ‘ukulele, lap steel guitar, bass, and hula, not to mention ongoing evening entertainment in one of the loveliest locations on the island, the Kohala Village Hub in Hawi.
Wouldn’t you like to join us?