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Students enjoy Learning Journey in their backyard in Lahaina

By Staff | Sep 24, 2015
Kala Baybayan taught the students how to navigate at sea using the stars, moon, sun, swells and birds.
During the tour, the students learned the names of the parts of a canoe in Hawaiian.

LAHAINA – On Friday, Aug. 14, the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders of Sacred Hearts School walked to Hui o Wa’a Kaulua on Front Street for our first Learning Journey.

In our own backyard, we learned about the voyaging culture of the Hawaiian Islands using the wa’a (canoe) as the classroom. Five different learning stations were set up to give us new knowledge about sailing on a Polynesian canoe. One station, taught by Kala Baybayan, was the Star Compass, where we learned how to navigate our way across the Pacific using the stars, moon, sun, swells and birds. At the station led by Mark, we learned how to tie knots that would be useful on a voyage. Knowing simple knots is crucial on the wa’a, because being able to tie or untie the knots in an emergency could possibly save a life.

Uncle Wilmont Kahaiali’i was the kumu for the third station. We played Makahiki games (Hawaiian cultural games) and learned their importance. Poita, Nohe and CJ led the fourth and fifth stations, where we learned the names of the parts of a canoe in Hawaiian and how to open and close sails using the canoes Mo’olele and Mo’oli’ili’i. We also learned what to do if someone fell overboard by practicing man overboard drills.

My favorite activity was navigating because I’m fascinated by how people can know where they’re going by just using the wind, constellations and birds. Each of the stations gave me a better understanding of voyaging and how important it is to know where I come from. I loved being out of the classroom and at Hui o Wa’a Kaulua – learning. Students and teachers of Lahaina, take advantage of the education in our backyard!