LAHAINA - As Tropical Storm Julio chased Tropical Storm Iselle into the Central Pacific last week, Hui o Wa'a Kaulua took no chances.
Last week Tuesday, Capt. Timi Gilliom suspended sea trials for the newly built Mo'okiha o Pi'ilani traditional voyaging canoe and brought her back to Mala Wharf until the weather passed.
"We are taking precautions to protect Mo'okiha based on (University of Hawaii) Meteorology Synoptic Reports," said Kapena Gilliom.
Crew members repair a broken axle on their custom boat trailer as Mo‘okiha o Pi‘ilani is pulled up Mala Ramp. PHOTO COURTESY OF HONU PRODUCTIONS, LAHAINA.
"We are just starting sea trials, and hurricane response duties are an important part of crew training. We have not really tested our moorings at Lahaina Roadstead and the Lahaina Restoration Foundation slip in marginal weather, but we know the canoe will be safe in the boat yard at Mala. We are really grateful to Rojas Trucking for pulling us in, and to Gunn Brothers, who hauled us up Front Street and launched us in July. "
During the first weekend of August, the Mo'okiha crew sailed the 62-foot, double-masted traditional canoe for the first time, began passing their swim and fitness tests, and practiced man-overboard drills.
"This wa'a (canoe) rides higher in the water than Hokule'a," explained Jack Breen, crew-member. "Therefore, paddling is not an option, so we have to be good with both traditional and modern sails."
Last week, a 35-horsepower outboard engine maneuvered the voyaging canoe into Mala Boat Ramp. After she was attached to the custom trailer built by Lahaina Welding, a trailer axle gave way.
Mo'okiha Crew-member and Engineer Charlie Noland was able to make a temporary fix, so Rojas Trucking could resume retrieving the ten-ton vessel from the sea.
Sea trials on Mo'okiha o Pi'ilani to prepare for U.S. Coast Guard International Registry will resume when the hurricane watch is over.
For information on Mo'okiha, visit www.huiowaa.org.