After nearly a year getting all the footwork done, The Kalaupapa Canoe Project is a GO! 70 or so miles from here in Kihei, Maui is a secluded little peninsula on the North shore of the island of Moloka’i called Kalaupapa. This region was once home to thousands of Hawaiians inflicted with the heinous disease of leprosy. For many years this seven mile stretch of land bordered on the South by impregnable sea cliffs and on all other sides by the fierce Pacific Ocean was something of a prison for those affected with the disease. To have been sent to Kalaupapa was to be given an exile from which no return would ever be possible. This tiny peninsula became one of the most foreboding places on the planet. Learn more about Kalaupapa.
Even today after Leprosy, or Hansen’s Disease, was cured, there are still several patients living in Kalaupapa along with about 60 or so state workers. The area is completely cut off from the rest of the island chain except by a small runway for single engine planes and a boat ramp, where a barge comes in once per year to drop off supplies.
The backbone to Hawaiian culture is the canoe, a vessel that has been used since before Hawai’i was inhabited for purposes of transportation, sport, recreation, fishing and in war. They were and are a symbol of freedom and hope to Hawaiians who are among the world’s best ocean voyagers.
Today there are no canoes in Kalaupapa. But that’s about to change. Thanks to the extreme generosity of Kihei Canoe Club, The Earth Trot Project has been given an old canoe. The boat, Kamali’i, is in need of some pretty serious repairs before it is ready for an ocean voyage that will take it nearly 100 miles from its home, but our sleeves are already rolled up. In the next two months, this canoe will be sanded down, re-fiberglassed, reinforced with seating and braces, re-rigged and re-painted. Then it will be taken out to see and paddled to its new home in the community of Kalaupapa.
Of course this will take a whole lot of work, and we certainly could use some help, so if you’re interested in working on this project, whether you’re experienced in fiberglass repair, painting, paddling or have an escort boat you’d like to provide assistance with the journey over, please let us know! Any and all help will be GREATLY appreciated!
Here’s a map of our planned course of paddle for some time in October, 2010. The first day we’ll take the canoe from Kihei, Maui to Kapalua, Maui. Bright and early the next morning we’ll cross the channel and brave the North Shore waves until we make it to Kalaupapa to donate the canoe to the community. Want to be part of this project? Please let us know! We certainly can use some help!
“It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.”