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Weekend Wanderer

Wandering the Weekends in California and beyond

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na wahine o ke kai

Molokai – It’s About the People

I spent last weekend on my favorite island. Molokai. It may have only been for about 48 hours, but I got my fair share in of soaking up the sun, and breathing in the good energy from everyone. The Na Wahine O Ke Kai race is a 42 mile outrigger race for women from the island of Molokai to the Island of Oahu and it is more than just another channel crossing. It’s a Channel Crossing from Molokai to Oahu with girls from all over the world with one common goal – to get to the other side. make-horse-2

But before we even get to the race start – theres so much more to take in. Molokai is about the people. Not just the people in your crew, or the people in your friends crew but also the people of the island of Molokai. There are the families that take in paddlers, greet everyone in town and help make everyone feel happy. You can’t walk to the grocery store in town without someone waving at you. I meet new friends EVERY DAmake-horse-3MN TIME I get to Molokai. I mean, NAC may be a handful sometimes – but we always bring swag to give out! I’ve met women in my first crossing in 2010, that I may only see once a year but I still go and pick up with them like no time has passed! All because this race and this island has brought us back to together. It literally is the FRIENDLY ISLE. The friends that I have there, that live there, make me their home feel like my home away from home. Molokai is about respecting the beaches and the land around you, being thankful that you are able to continue year after year to visit this island for an outrigger race. I couldn’t be more stoked to stay a weekend on Molokai and I wish I had more time!

Each crew is it’s own family. They bond together, support each other, and get each other across the channel. I was lucky enough to have a super special crew this year for the crossing. My close friends, a mother and her two daughters, new friends and all around a great group of girls to cross the channel with. It was a challenging crossing, I don’t think anyone would disagree. But your crew makes it fun! You can’t have a good crossing without positive vibes all around and smiles!

Molokai is about the people, the friends and the family. We may have trained all year for this race – but the reward isn’t getting to Oahu. The reward is the time spend together on this island, playing and relaxing. It’s meeting new friends and catching up with the girls you only talk to on Facebook!

So take the time, breathe deep, smile more and enjoy everything and everyone around you.  Because you deserve everything the world has to offer around you.

molokai-crew-2016

We are H U M A N

This is the same post I shared on my facebook…

W E A R E H U M A N

This happened because we are human.

This happened because we are too comfortable.

This happened because we let our teammates down.

This is not her fault, it’s also not the drivers.

Boat ladders are needed.

Prop guards are needed, yes absolutely. 100%.

But so is awareness, attentiveness, teamwork, and acceptance of mistakes. Her life will never be the same, she has a long way to go. We need to do what we can to support her. We need to do what we can to help the next escort boat driver who finds themselves in this position. We need to do what we can, to control the situation.

I’m 26 years old, a girl, and I’ve been running my own escort boat for only 5 years. Hitting someone with the prop is my absolute nightmare. I’ve been paddling for 11 years. Getting hit by a prop is my absolute nightmare. There are many precautions to take, and you can take them all. But something could always go wrong. What are we going to do when something goes wrong? What’s our instinct? Get mad? No. Our instinct should be to band together, to support, to find a solution, and not place blame. This is our own fault.

A safe boat driver doesn’t mean an older driver; it doesn’t mean a male driver. It just means a safe driver. So those topics of conversation need to come to a halt. This is not on the race directors, this is not on the lead safety boat, this is not on the race. This is on us. What we need more than safer drivers, are safer paddlers. We shouldn’t have let her jump in the water, in one of the busiest spots an escort boat could be; before the race. It’s little things like that, becoming more aware of our surroundings. Knowing when the right time to jump, and the wrong time to jump. Our sport is compiled of jumping off motor boats, into canoes, and then back into motor boats. You can educate someone all you want on when to jump, where to jump, how to jump – but someone will always forget and jump wrong. Because we are human. You can give someone all the tools to be a successful escort captain, but something will fall apart or not work. Because we are human.

As a paddling community, we need to be more aware. And right now we need to band together to support each other. Crossing season isn’t over. But we can be more aware, and help prevent what we have control over.

My thoughts are with you, Aunty Faith Kalei-Imaizumi. My heart is with you Hawaii. My strength is behind the paddling community. Let’s support her together. Instead of placing blame. Let’s make sure her family knows we have her back.

 

https://www.gofundme.com/2pmggu4

 

Na Wahine O Ke Kai 2012

NA WAHINE O KE KAI 2012

Everyone who paddles saw the pictures, everyone who knew someone that raced saw the videos, and the women who crossed the Kaiwi channel that morning…saw something that’ll be embedded into their minds forever.

That morning we all saw 15-20 ft waves closing out of Hale O Lono harbor. What we were all thinking but not necessarily saying out loud “How are we going to get past this?? And how long is it going to last??” Our crew stayed calm, even after seeing multiple boats flip, turn and get pushed in and out of these waves.

We are the boat on there right in blue jerseys and yellow hats

It was one of the hardest crossings of Molokai to Oahu ever done. All the times showed that the conditions of the 42 mile race were rough, and all around difficult to be in. Even though mid channel the waves weren’t very large at all, it was still difficult to paddle through with a straight north wind the entire time.

I remember thinking 4 hours in “We’re half way.” And then looking to either side of us thinking “I can’t see Molokai or Oahu”. We were tired, hungry and all thinking the same thing: “this is going to take awhile”. Now this wasn’t my first time crossing the “Channel of Bones”. I went across in 2010 with a group of girls from Kailua, HI and Molokai in an unlimited canoe by Kamanu Composites. However it was flat as a lake! We were the only crew out there that day. In 2011 I escorted the second NAC mens team, which included my boyfriend Bruce. It’s so surreal to look around you and see nothing but ocean, and think that you’ve still have 22 miles to paddle. But just like our jerseys said:

“You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” -Christopher Columbus

All in all it was the most fun I’ve ever had with a group of girls I love paddling with. It was awesome to cross the channel with my best friends paddling, and having my best friend Will be our escort coach along the way.

All 10 of us that crossed the channel, crossed together. No one gave up, no one settled for where we were; we kept pushing and we kept working. We went into this race as a team, and came out as a team. With each stroke we took, we brought ourselves closer to Oahu. It was a hard race to paddle, but worth every second-minute-hour. NAC FOR LIFE.

It is definitely something I will never forget, and I know most girls won’t either.

Photo credit: 808photo.me

A special thanks to Heather Brown for sponsoring us with hats for our race! @heatherbrownart www.heatherbrownart.com

 

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