The Crew for Hokule'a and Kama Hele

Leg 4: Rapa Nui to Tahiti, 1999

introduced by watch captain Kimo Lyman

[Kimo, from Mokulei'a, O'ahu, works for the fire department in Waialua. He is a veteran of many sails on Hokule'a, starting in 1976, when he was the instrument navigator from Tahiti to Hawai'i. He was on board Hokule'a from Tahiti to Hawai'i in 1980, Aotearoa to Samoa in 1986, Cook Islands to Hawai'i in 1992 (co navigator, without instruments); and on board Hawai'iloa from Hawai'i to Tahiti, and Tahiti to the Marquesas to Hawai'i in 1995. One of the most skillful and knowledgeable sailors on board the canoes, he has been voyaging since he was sixteen. He is also a skillful writer and a great person to swap stories with.]

Kimo's Introductions Start Here:

Perhaps the best way to begin an article about sailing aboard Hokule'a would be to start as we do our voyage, by giving thanks and praises to the most high. The spiritual realm of life and the wonders of our existence and in this universe are very evident out at sea and daily, both collectively and individually, we affirm our faith. Mahalo Ke Akua!

There are thirteen of us sailing on this leg as one 'ohana. Let me introduce our crew: Wallace Froiseth, co-captain, is a living treasure and a hero of mine since small kid time. At eighty years young, this surfing, sailing, and diving legend is amazingly comfortable and agile aboard, as well as being a work horse, whether changing sails, splicing lines, steering or even washing dishes. He influences all of us very positively with his quiet, up beat manner and wonderful stories of Hawai'i's past. A master woodworker, he has built many of the parts of Hokule'a, including our main steering sweep (16 feet long) and the new booms. It's an inspiration and a privilege to sail with Uncle Wally.

Bruce Blankenfeld, co-captain and navigator, is the epitome of a great skipper, knowledgeable, intelligent, and prudent, Bruce knows that safety at sea is utmost. His caring and compassionate manner for his crew and his commitment to the goals of the PVS are what create such a good leader.

Voted most likely to be captain if we didn't already have, is Nalani Kaneakua, our cook, although "cook" is too weak of a word. Gourmet chef is much closer to the mark as indeed, she's a professtional back home on Kauai. To see her clean and fillet and slice a fish is truly amazing and her creations from the galley are unbelievalbe, from ahi came poisson cru, poke, sashimi and breaded fillets as well as strips to dry; from an aku, fried bone and belly, sashimi and ono dried aku; from a sailfish, marinated steaks and more dried fish, throw in a chocolate banana pie, vegetarian chili, fritata, huevos rancheros with homemade tortillas and eggs benedict a la canoe and you have an inkling of Nalani's talent, all from a modest two burner propane stove. Much of her success is directly attributed to the hard work of many back home but particularily Lita Blankenfeld and Mary Fern who planned, shopped and packed for the entire voyage. Awesome!

Closely coordinating the stores and knowing where to find them is another monumental task, but for Terry Hee, quarter master, watch captain and most camera shy person you'll ever meet, the job seems easy. Terry has been aboard for the entire duration since May, having taken a leave of absence from his job (without pay) and his contributions, love for Hoku, and dedication to this voyage, as well as many in the past, are as deep as the sea we're crossing. And if you want the real scoop, Terry's the man.

Dennis "Kaho'i" Chun, watch captain from Kauai sailed on the first leg from Hilo to the Marquesas and has been on many past trips. Quick with a smile and laugh, he is an extremely talented musician who makes all aboard both nostalgic and happy with his skillful guitar licks, beautiful voice and vast repertoire. It's always a pleasure sailing with Dennis.

Bob (M____?) Bee is a veteran of Hawaiiloa's trip to Alaska in 1995, as well as sailing her inter-island in the Tahiti group that year. "Lopaka", Bruce and Terry all work together on the waterfront in Honolulu and his knowledge of shipping and ocean related ventures fit right in and make for interesting stories. Trouble is, he's so humble and soft-spoken one has to pry them out of him. Bob was a year ahead of me in high school and I remember his athleticism as a gifted football, basketball, and high jumping star.

Kawika Crivello, Kawai Warren, Na'alehu Anthony and Blane Chong are all on their first blue water crossing. Well prepared, due to the PVS's solid training program, all have proven themselves as good shipmates. Extremely helpful, eager and quick to learn, and easy to get along with, these gentlemen epitomize what one seeks at sea. Kawika is a volunteer Hawaiian immersion teacher, whose job is with the Public Works of Moloka'i, as his friendly personality exhibits. Paddler, diver, surfer, he is comfy out at sea and has a lot of inter-island seatime aboard Hokule'a. Kawai, hailing from Kauai, works as a firefighter in Waimea where he says helping people is the best part of his job. He carries that philosophy here as well and is always looking out to kokua whether on watch or off. Na'alehu, at 24 is our youngest crew member, but probably the most energetic. Dubbed "Gadget" due to the myraid of tools, devices and equipment he is responsible for, if he is not communicating on the radio, filming, or documenting then he's fixing something. Preparing to graduate soon from the UH with a Hawaiian Studies degree, Na'alehu has been a busy man as he is the trip's documentor and radioman. He is also held in high esteem as the one who has obtained the CD player from Kenwood, installed it. Lots of inprovements have been made on Hoku since her initial sail in 1976 and listening to Iz, Amy, Gabby, and Carlos on a moonlit eve is certainly one of them.

On all long legs Hokule'a carries a doctor, basic prudent seamanahip. Dr. Blane Chong of O'ahu is a genuine asset on this trip keeping everyone healthy and fit. Doc's a paddler with Hui Nalu Canoe Club and is a specimen of fitness himself even though it took him a couple of days to get his sea legs. A common malady.

Kamaki Worthington, address Pacific Ocean, is our apprentice navigator. With roots in Rarotonga, relations in Tahiti and New Zealand, Kamaki is truly a Polynesian citizen. He is learning his art well and a lot of sea miles on various vessels as well as his Coast Guard Captain's license. He was a large help when Hoku was in drydock for an extensive re-fit, headed up by Jay Dowsett. Together with hundreds of volunteers from all over and Jay's expert advice and hard work, Hokule'a is a beautiful, dry and fast canoe, capable of worldwide travel.

Our last crew member, like Terry, has been with the voyage from day one but not always aboard Hoku. Kealoha Hoe, from Hakipu'u, O'ahu was on the Kama Hele, our escort vessel,on legs one and three and on the canoe for leg two from Nuku Hiva to Mangareva. He rejoined Hoku in Rapa Nui as a late entry and we are all grateful and blessed to have him. combined with a boisterous laugh, kolohe eye and quick wit are a tangible sence of spirit and love of God. Kealoha's daily pule, usually before our evening meal is all encompassing, thankful for all blessings, mindful of our loved ones ashore and straight from the heart. Our kahu is aboard.

We couldn't be here if not for the Kama Hele and her crew. Alex and Elsa Jakubenko with their crew have been watching our for Hoku's safety, towing her in and out of harbors and carrying extra goods and crew for thousands of miles. Now aboard in addition to Alex and Elsa are their son-in-law Jacky Tetuanui from Mo'orea, Alicia Akuna from Rapa Nui, and three crew members who sailed aboard Hokule'a on previous legs. Nalani Wilson, from Ka'a'awa, O'ahu, was on leg two, through the Marquesas islands to Mangareva, and is now heading the computer aboard to send log reports, digital images, and other information via short wave e-mail. Tim Gilliom, from Maui, was also on the second leg of the journey aboard Hokule'a, and like Attwood Makanani, from Kaua'i, who traveled on the first leg from Hilo to the Marquesas, both have been volunteering their services on the Kama Hele prior to and after their time aboard Hoku. We aboard the canoe are more comfortable and grateful because of their sacrafice and vigilance.

For more information on the quest for Rapa Nui, go to the PVS Homepage.