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Hui O Wa‘a Kaulua sets course toward culture

By Staff | Sep 30, 2010

Capt. Timmy Gilliom stands in front of the newly painted Mo‘okiha voyaging canoe at Hui O Wa‘a Kaulua in Lahaina. Gilliom will serve as an instructor in upcoming Ocean Awareness Training sessions.

LAHAINA — Hui O Wa’a Kaulua (Assembly of the Double-Hulled Canoe) is navigating toward Hawaiian cultural education.

As a new coat of paint hardened on the hull of Mo’okiha, a 62-foot, double-hulled voyaging canoe, Capt. Timmy Gilliom explained, “I never was the one in my family who loves to talk, but I want to be with the others to share this story.”

A group of seasoned ocean voyagers will join forces with the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary to present a class about traditional Hawaiian navigation.

Gilliom, Watch Captain Palani Wright and Navigator Kala Baybayan will offer their perspectives on traditional navigation at the National Marine Sanctuary in Kihei on Oct. 11 at 6 p.m., and again at Lahaina Civic Center on Oct. 12 at 6 p.m.

This is the opening session of the sanctuary’s free, continuing, six-part Ocean Awareness Training series for the fall.

The Mo’okiha’s crew leaders will explain navigation, point out stars in the sky and share mythical stories to help remember the stars.

They will explain star charts and invite students to align the stars with a star compass used by traditional ocean voyagers.

Polynesians used their navigational knowledge and culture to settle on every habitable island from remote Easter Island to the east, New Zealand to the south and Hawaii to the north more than 1,000 years before Captain Cook was born.

The six-session Ocean Awareness Training series will also include “How Ocean Forces Influence Maui,” “Marine Mammal Awareness,” “Maui Reefs,” “Marine Mammal ID” and “Conservation Opportunities.”

Additional course topics will be presented by instructors from the University of Hawaii Maui College, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and state Department of Land & Natural Resources.

Participants may attend some or all of the free Ocean Awareness Training classes.

Each session is designed to provide resources for anyone serving in a water activity business, interested in learning about our culture and environment or volunteering in the community.

Visit www.oceanawarehawaii.org to register and get more information, or call Tracy at 879-2818, extension 28, at the National Marine Sanctuary.

The Humpback Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary visitor center at 726 South Kihei Road is open Mondays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information on Hui O Wa’a Kaulua, contact Myrna Ah Hee at 667-4050 or hhuiowaakaulua@hawaii.rr.com.