Cherish Baybayan’s voyaging legacy
He is a man that manifested an unsurpassed dedication to the guidance of spiritual and physical life journeys in following the stars in the heavens.
Chad Kalepa Baybayan passed away last week at the age of 64, but his legacy of growing up in Lahaina to live a life of malama pono — to nurture in a motherly way that which is good and righteous — as a master navigator and positive force in the highly revered culture of the Polynesian canoe will be cherished and remembered forever.
Baybayan spent much of his childhood along the beaches here on the West Side and paddled with Napili Canoe Club after graduating from Lahainaluna High School in 1974.
His fascination with ocean voyaging and non-instrumental navigation with the skies above grew to the point that he became a vital spirit in the Polynesian Voyaging Society and the signature history of the Hokule’a.
He joined the crew of the Hokule’a with master navigator Nainoa Thompson and iconic Lahaina aquamen Abraham “Snake” Ah Hee and Archie Kalepa, as well as his daughter Kala Baybayan Tanaka, to become a part of the historic voyages of the sailing canoe between Hawaii and Tahiti and around the world. This included journeys with the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage aboard the Hokule’a and the Hikianalia as a lead navigator.
Chad is survived by his wife, Audrey; his mother, Lilian Suter; children Kala Baybayan Tanaka, Pukanala Llanes and Aukai Baybayan; and siblings Clayton Baybayan, Lyle Baybayan, Lisa Baybayan (Sister Ann Marie), and Ted Suter.
A memorial service will be held on the Big Island in May.
Aloha ‘oe. (By Walter Chihara)