Hokule’a connects with the generations, ‘āina, honua

Larry L. Medina
Eddie Meza

Kaleo, a HonCC student, was out at the edge of Magic Island, at a particular spot she said her ancestors told her to stand to welcome the Hokule’a home. She was very nervous, she said, and had trouble sleeping the last few days leading up to the event. While she noted that there were much more to the injustices that the Hawaiian people had endured that nearly erased their culture from history, it was imperative to teach the keiki (children) their history, and that there was much more work to be done by people to shed light into its dark past. As if practicing what she just stated, she gave the honor of welcoming the Hokule’a to a child nearby, giving him a conch shell through which to bellow in to annouce the arrival of that humble yet great Pacific voyaging canoe. And as if to solidify her loyalty to the next generation, she took the ti leaf haku she was wearing and adorned it on the child’s head. Kaleo and others like her are what lies at the heart of the Hawaiian culture, and what will lead them into a proud future.
This past weekend, Kaleo, along with tens of thousands of local residents, tourists, and curiosity-seekers lined the shore of Waikiki and converged in and around the Ala Wai Boat Harbor, to welcome home the Hokule’a, a traditional Hawaiian wa’a (canoe) and symbol of the Hawaiian cultural renaissance, after a three-year epic worldwide tour of goodwill and sharing the aloha of the Hawaiian Islands. The Hokule’a serves as that connection which Kaleo wishes to establish with and pass on to the next generation.
Mālama Honua, the name of the three-year round-the-world voyage, reflected the purpose of Hokule’a’s mission, which was to “join and grow the global movement toward a more sustainable movement.” Raising awareness of the fragility of Polynesia the islands it is comprised of, including the Hawaiian islands, the varied cultures and its limited natural resources, drove home the responsibilities of humanity to care for the Earth, or “mālama honua.”
Throughout her voyage, Hokule’a’s crew sailed over 40,000 nautical miles, using traditional, ancient Hawaiian navigational skills to dock at 150 ports around the world. Crews were rotated out at each port-of-call, resulting in 250 crew who took the Hokule’a on its journey. In keeping with voyage’s message of caring for the earth, the crew also sought to learn how other peoples and cultures were caring for the earth in their respective locales.
Being a replica of a traditional double-hull wa’a, made of modern materials, she is rated for long-distance, open-ocean travel like the wa’a of old. The Hokule’a is navigated by a crew of 12-13 using traditional Hawaiian navigation techniques, using celestial and solar observation and reckoning, observing the ocean swells, the winds, even what kind and where birds are sighted. Launched in 1975, the Hokule’a not only revitalized traditional voyaging in Hawai’i, but throughout Polynesia as well. Additionally, the Hokule’a sparked new interest in the Hawaiian culture and language. Impressively, the creation of the Hokule’a inspired other groups and island nations to build new ocean-going wa’a as well.  
When it was decided the Hokule’a would be built, in the early 1970’s, Polynesian ocean-voyaging had not occurred in 600 years. The Polynesian Voyaging Society was founded in 1973 to revive it.
On the morning of the Hokule’a homecoming, June 17th, she was preceded by seven other wa’a (including one from the Marshall Islands, and another from Tahiti). Each voyaging canoe was greeted with traditional oli (chants), pule (prayer) and lei. At around 9:45a, a surge of onlookers crammed the embankment of the Ala Wai harbor channel, straining to see the Hokule’a’s arrival.
Nainoa Thompson, master navigator of the Hokule’a and who was on the canoe as it arrived, affirmed the crowd’s aloha. “Thank you, Hawai’i. Thank you for the moment. I am very humbled to tell you right now that Hokule’a is home.”
Shyia, recently graduated from HonCC, attended the ho’olaulea on Magic Island that followed the arrival of the Hokule’a.

“I brought my clan out here to see this,” she said, gesturing to her children. “This is history, we’re witnesses.”

A Reporter’s Day Covering the Hokule’a

Chris Garcia
The Hokule’a Homecoming: it made news headlines; it brought excitement every time it was mentioned; and it gave me personal insight on Hawaiiana. Being relatively new to Hawai’i, I always wanted to find more ways of experiencing the true nature of the islands. And what I got was a journey.

Everyone in the Ka La newsroom spent over two weeks preparing for the Hokule’a’s arrival. We researched details over the docking: when was Hokule’a coming in; what dock; what time? We needed to know of any camping restrictions; designated viewing spots; possible parking lot closures. This took me all over the place, from the Marine Education Training Center on Sand Island, to the Honolulu Police Department.

 Along the way, I got to really understand why the Hokule’a’s homecoming was a historic event. At the Marine Education Training Center (METC), Seeing other boats docked, with frames and parts in the mechanic bay, I felt humbled to just be there, standing where the Hokule’a had, was, and would being cared for.

I spoke with Jason Patterson, a crew member of the Hokule’a. He told me about the intricacies of sailing, and recounted the feeling of host-countries passing them knowledge. Hokule’a wasn’t sent just to rekindle the ways of Hawaiian sea-faring. She was sent to build bridges! She one of Hawai’i’s state treasure, being shared throughout Polynesia and beyond as a cultural ambassador.

Back in the newsroom, We were all diligent in planning our coverage, doing everything from researching how and where the Hokule’a and its entourage would dock, to scoping out Magic Island for the best photo-op spots. A historic event was soon to unfurl, and there had to be no room for error. At 1:30 on the morning of the June 17th, I got picked up along with the rest of the news crew. We parked at Kewalo Basin and did an equipment check.

I could see early arrivals entering Magic Island and trying to secure a spot, but got booted out by the cops (the state would not allow anyone before 4am). I saw a car getting towed. Ouch.

We had coverage from three different angles – from the rocky end of the park past the lagoon, outrigger canoe launching area of the Hawaii Yacht Club. I took my post at four in the morning, half-asleep and half-awake. But that passed as soon as people started to drift in. It started off small, some passersby pulling their sleeping keiki on wagons, others bringing coolers to the mooring site. Even though security said not to, people set up canopies right next to me.

A woman sitting behind me recounted her feelings of Hokule’a over the years, back from 1976 to present day. She wiped the tears off her cheeks – hau ‘oli was overwhelming her.  But the biggest takeaway is passing the torch, from the kahiko a’e to the keiki. She wants all this culture, the experiences, this feeling, to keep going for generations to come.

Another man, Curtis, was 12 years old when he saw the first Hokule’a come in. Now, he was at this homecoming 38 years later, with his sons, 14 and 23. Curtis said, “we’re waiting for them to come back, to celebrate this occasion with them…I think this would be a good thing for the kids, an awesome thing…”

The crowd increased, with a steady flow of people coming onto Magic Island. Both tourists and locals were pushing up against me. I bumped someone every time I turned – so dense was the crowd – but I was lucky to have secured a place up on the embankment looking right at the receiving dock. My ears heard screams of welcome from so many ohana gathered that morning. Despite the throng, no one was shy to let strangers sit next to them. I was offered drinks and breakfast by some, and felt like crying.

Everyone ecstatically gasped when the Hikimoe was spotted. A lady to my right pulled out binoculars, and someone on my left snapped pictures with her tablet.  Some of the crowd shifted to let the keiki sit on the wall. And when the Hikimoe started to pull in closer to me, the other wa’a followed suit in timely fashion, like clockwork. Visitors echoed the oli proudly, the aloha of it spreading across Magic Island, as the various sea-farers and crews from the voyaging canoes, from Moloka’i to Aotearoa, set foot on O’ahu soil.  

When the Hikianalia was sighted, there was a thunderous release of cheers as the flotilla of escorts drifted closer to shore. By the time the Hokule’a passed Marker 7, tourists behind me were “ooo-ing” and “ahh-ing,” but the ko ‘one’i po’e drowned them out with cries of happiness. When the Hokule’a finally docked, all the pop-up canopies dropped as fast as the wind blew. The rush to see it and crew was on.

As fast as I could, I scurried to the mooring site, dodging onlookers left and right. Keiki were on trees, holding their phones to shoot video and pictures of the crew. The floating docks were blocked with people, with dozens bowing their heads during the oli.

Crew members smiled in their malo. Crowds cheered musicians and bands playing on-stage. Tourists scurried around, checking out every booth, and getting a solid taste of native, real Polynesia.

For me, the most heart-hitting thing was witnessing Hawaiiana spreading from the Hokule’a and Hikianalia, and returning Samoan, Maori, Tahitian, and other Polynesian cultures back with them. In my eyes this was true aloha, not something anyone can get from a postcard or a weekend getaway. This is the culture, the real deal of Hawai’i and Polynesia.

A Student Leader Development Weekend at Camp Erdman

Chris Garcia
One of my lovely summer weekends was spent over at the YMCA’s Camp Erdman.  I was invited to be part of the Student Leader Development Retreat, hosted by HonCC’s Student Life (SL).

As someone who never went to the YMCA as a kid, I felt cheated out of my childhood; I had an entire beach to build three-foot sandcastles in; the counselors loved making friendly jokes at everything; and chickens (dinner) were running around the main building like it was their pen. Eight-year-old-me would have wanted to spend an entire summer vacation at Erdman.

City lights wash out the dim light of stars. But out at northern O’ahu, there’s practically no lights, save the moon, and although it was out, the sky was dark enough to see them shimmer.

This was a place to kick back and relax, so we all scattered about to enjoy the freedom. Emily, Director of SL, went the whole nine yards, bringing campfire favorites, from weenies to Nutter-Butters and marshmallows. Edlynne and Angelina, two SL staff, scoured the shore for seashells. Bryce and Gerimi, two other SL staff, beat their hands on the table through rounds of Pyramid, a card game similar to Slap-Jack. From the campfire, chunks of ash would blow out of the fire-pit from time to time, making me smell like charcoal. Angelina sat in a certain spot to cook her food. Bryce, Rica, Edlynne and Jonnalyn stood a few feet from the fire to warm up.

We hiked the trail to Ka’ena Point. I had been on this trail before with a mountain bike, which took all of 30 minutes to get to the end of trail. Wheezing, it took us three hours by foot. We walked along the trail closest to the crashing, rhythmic ocean, crossing gaps and loose rocks. As I followed my colleagues, keeping to the distanced hills at times, they looked like ants, miniscule to the world around them.

About an hour and a half into the walk we stopped at a sandy cove. There was another group who set up camp there, with sizzling grill and shady canopyl. A man and a boy with fishing rods scurried from place-to-place to catch their meal.

We got to see a monk seal, plopped right in front of us. He looked ready for the vultures with how dead asleep he was. Edlynne named him Spaghetti. Angelina kept telling me to keep a certain distance away from Spaghetti when taking pictures. I decided to take a dip in the water, walking near the unresponsive seal.

The retreat was built around team-building activities, challenging the body and the mind. All of us had to get over to a platform, using planks and without jumping or touching the ground.

Another exercise was to cross a trail of stumps, with someone always on a stump and participants holding another’s shoulder. The counselors jazzed things up by making every other person close their eyes. I wasn’t one of the blindfolded, but it was rough trying to feel around for a stump that seemed like ten-feet away.

There was this incredibly high tower that everyone was tasked to climb. The biggest barrier to getting to the top, though, was the mind. Although we were safe, looking down while at 30-feet in the air is terrifying. Jonnalyn, one of the SL staff, was like a spider monkey as she scaled up to the top. Edlynne, another SL staffer, was mortified at first, crying out as she crawled up a log. George, the SL webmaster, rappelled down from the top and helped her get to the first platform. With body dangling in mid-air, he instructed Edlynne where to step. She made it, ecstatically crying in a 180-degree mood flip.

The biggest challenge of the camp to me would be the High Ropes Course. Basically, it was the giant tower with tight-rope walking. And we did it in the dark. The flash from someone’s camera distracted those who were on the tightrope, and Bryce exclaimed, “WHO’S TAKING PICTURES!” It was Emily, trying to get shots of us tightrope-walking in pure darkness. Ironically, the darker it got, the easier it became. Like an ostrich hiding from danger with its head in the sand – if it don’t see it, the danger’s not there.

We finished the trip with a commemorative poster. Everyone cut out a decorated tracing of their hand and pasted it to a large paper. We painted all sort of things on it, from the lazy Monk Seal to a scale drawing of the High Ropes Course. It was a collage of all the participants’ personalities with a dorkish charm. I was glad to have spent the weekend with them.

Diving Sharks Cove? Some Tips and Essentials

Eddie Meza

Sharks Cove is a popular attraction for snorkelers and free divers alike, but take a few minutes to look at the cove through my eyes as I explore its caves and tunnels just under the surface.

Sharks Cove is located on the North Shore of O’ahu and is part of Pupukea Beach Park. For those that might be discouraged by the name there is no need to worry – the name comes from the shape of the reef when seen from above (although you might run into a juvenile white tip reef shark from time to time). The big attractions to this dive site are the diverse marine life, as well as the underwater rock formations, making it ideal for beginner to intermediate divers. The caves and tunnels that are about 15-45 feet below the surface are great for experienced divers to explore. Keep in mind that there is no lifeguard on duty, so stay alert and practice safe dive procedures at all times.

Layout: The terrain is jagged and I recommend you use dive booties for traverse the entry points. There are two main entry points: the “elevator” that is located to the right of the cove (see map), and the lower “walk in” area. Both areas can be slippery, so use caution when entering the water. As always, take a few minutes to examine the water conditions. Moderate to large waves at the site can throw you into some rocks at the entry points. Keep in mind that if you plan on exploring the tunnels that a surge under water can cause serious injury or worse, so take your time to assess the dive conditions before you decide to enter.

Points of Interest: The opening of the cove is full of life and is great to explore the small overheads. If you go to the right of reef you will encounter a small cavern. Pass that reef finger you will encounter a few more caverns and tunnels that are a blast to explore. If you find yourself at the last and largest cavern, keep in mind that at the back is an opening that a few divers have not survived – I highly recommend that you DO NOT enter this area; tunnels like this are for experienced divers with extensive training in cavern exploration.

Before you dive, remember to always dive with a buddy. Go over your pre-dive safety check, hand signals and emergency procedures (See Below).

Sharks cove has a restroom area as well as a shower. If you get hungry there are plenty of food trucks just across the road as well as a Foodland. As always bring at the minimum some water to stay hydrated, and a first aid kit is always a good idea.

Remember leave only bubbles and take only memories, have fun!

Pre-Dive Safety Check
• BCD secure and functioning properly?
• Low pressure inflator attached?
• Appropriately filled for entry?
• Buddy familiar with operation?
• Cylinder secure?
W (Weights)
• Amount of weight appropriate?
• System free and clear for emergency release?
R (Releases)
• All buckles and releases functional?
• Locate releases without looking?
• Buddy Familiar with operation?
A (Air)
• Sufficient air for dive?
• Valve turned on all the way?
• Alternate air source properly located?
• Familiar with buddy’s alternate air source?
• Air pressure at which to turn dive?
F (Final Okay)
• General check of buddy – nothing odd or out of place?
• Fins, Mask and snorkel ready?
• Prepare to enter water

Buddy Separation
1. If one gets separated from a dive buddy, stop and do a slow visual 360-degree spin remembering to look both upwards and downwards trying to spot your buddies bubbles if possible.

  1. If you are carrying a tank-banger or an audio buddy signaling device, use it to see if your buddy can locate you from the sound.
  2. If you have a dive light on you, and visibility is low, use the light while doing your slow 360 degree spin to help your buddy locate you, or grab the attention of your buddy who could be behind a terrain feature or outcrop.

  3. Having spent a minute looking for your buddy in this manner, ascend to the surface slowly, while remembering to perform your safety stop.

  4. While at your safety stop deploy your SMB or “Safety Sausage” so that if your buddy is looking for you at the surface, he knows where you are. And perform another 360 spin looking in all directions for signs of your missing buddy.

  5. At the surface wait for your buddy to surface, while continuing to look to spot the air bubbles at the surface if conditions permit or if you were doing a boat dive return to the boat and inform the boat that you are missing a buddy.

  6. Do not re-descend once you have surfaced.

  7. If the missing buddy carries out the same procedure then the buddy pair should meet up again at the surface or near the surface.

  8. Always ensure you go over your plan for missing buddy discussing where and how long to wait before surfacing with your dive buddy before every dive.

6/19/17 Saving this article for next time I pass through Hawai’i! Mahalo Eddie!

6/9/17 I enjoyed this one!

6/9/17 I have been diving with Eddie at Sharks cove with my son, he was our guide. As an ex-commercial hardhat diver, I can truly say Eddie is a true professional but at the same time never loses sight of enjoying the dive. I look forward to my return trip next month to dive with him again. Would highly recommend him to anyone wanting a top notch dive guide / instructor. Aloha and mahalo Eddie!

Tiki’s Grill and Bar, Waikiki, O’ahu

Larry L. Medina

“Hello, so you are reporters doing a story on Tiki’s?” said the beaming California gal warmly as she came up to our table. She was Sarah Mendoza, manager of Tiki’s Grill and Bar (NOT “Bar and Grill,” as most places would have it). This was after Chris’ plate of miso butterfish and a Volcanic Sunset, and my order of ginger soy grilled salmon with a Miller Lite. Adam Lapenita, food and drink staff writer for the blogsite Thrillist, wrote in a review that tiki bars are all about three things: exotic drinks, delicious food, and warm hospitality. Tiki’s, the quiessential Waikiki stereotype of what a tourist expects a tiki bar should serve up and look like, met all these requirements, and more.

Chris, one of our writers, and I were seated at the far wall of the restaurant (and Tiki’s IS a restaurant, with its vast oasis of tables and chairs taking up the second floor of the Aston, and while by no means intimate and snug like the much more smaller bars I’ve visited, tiki-themed or not, its atmosphere is quite laid-back). There IS a bar in Tiki’s, and I could see it a distance away from where we sat.

No matter: the decor was decidedly (and stereotypically) Polynesian, in that 1950’s-style middle-class American vision of the exotic Pacific: bamboo-framed scenes of tropical shores hung off moss rock walls; gaudy tiki statues representing no god in particular, backlit by lamps emanating shades of deep orange and thick red, conjuring a facsimile of lava; large netted glass fishing floaters; glossed wooden tables matched to plantation-style padded wooden chairs, and I think I spotted some rattan ones as well near the bar (hey, isn’t rattan Asian?); and ginormous sheets of lauhala that subtituted as a false ceiling. The restaurant is ringed with gas-lit torches on the corner of Kalakaua and Paoakalani Ave’s for everyone NOT to notice.

To Tiki’s credit, the place is not overly-immersed in the tiki bar kitch. Looking round, I was relieved nobody had been served a drink out of a coconut (I found out later that they do, using a facsimile of one). In fact, I don’t recall seeing anything alluding to a coconut. Instead, Chris and I were rewarded with a line of coconut trees growing along Kalakaua Ave in our line of sight toward Waikiki Beach, as the restaurant squarely faces the south shore of O’ahu. There was no live music the night we went (perhaps the musicians were off that nite). Both our server and the general manager were NOT bedecked in plastic lei, nor were they wearing any Hawaiian print clothing ala Magnum, P.I. – thank God for that, and I say this as a local.

Our server did speak to me a bit in Hawaiian, once he found out I was studying the language (he had taken classes through the UH system and spoke better olelo Hawai’i than me). The manager was also a product of UH, and had even played volleyball for the school (yes, THAT Sarah Mendoza – 2014, remember?) They spent minutes talking with us when they clearly should have been attending to other patrons, but I will hazard that, we being all from the UH ohana, they were happy to give us more than the time of day.

The food’s good. The drinks are good. The place is reasonable and inexpensive for the average struggling community college student putting in 19 hours a week at an on-campus job (or a tired professor putting in 60). The employees are solid. The decor isn’t overkill. The dining area has space to stretch out without bumping into the next table over. I say, go for it. It’s a place for us locals to play tourist in our own backyard.

Location: 2nd floor Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel
Cuisine: American and Asian-Pacific fusion

Environment/Decor: casual; aloha wear

Price: $$
Contact: sarahm@tikisgrill.com
Website: http://www.tikisgrill.com
Phone: 808-923-8454
Address: 2570 Kalakaua Ave. Honolulu HI 96815
Parking: 3-hour free valet

6/8/17 This is a thorough and informative review that has actually convinced me to try out Tiki’s, and hardly anything can get me to Waikīkī these days. I enjoyed the descriptions, and I am impressed at how much information you embedded in a good story. Nice work, Larry. EPS
Mahalo nui, doc. I would not have been able to write at this level had it not been for a good ass-kicking when I took your WI class – LLM

6/8/17 Good read. Well definitely check this place out once I step foot back on the rock 😆😆 and of course I’ll be drinking something from a Coconut lol
Annette, next time you in town, we will BOTH order something gaudy and ridiculous out of a coconut – LLM

6/7/17 If you haven’t already done so, you should quit ATS and become a journalist
Actually, I quit journalism to become a counselor, because it pays more – LLM

Cholo’s Homestyle Mexican

From HawaiianBeachRentals.com
Cholo’s has been a favorite North Shore gathering place for nearly twenty years, famous for their margaritas, mojitos, and homestyle Mexican cooking. Owner Nancy Salemi is enamored with all things related to Mexican culture and cuisine, and has traveled extensively throughout the Mexico to collect authentic art and other items for the colorful, eclectically-decorated restaurant.

The North Shore has become known as the surfing capitol of the world, and is a popular tourist destinationparticularly during the winter months. Cholo’s is conveniently located in the North Shore Marketplace in the lively, bustling town of Haleiwa, just a short drive from Sunset Beach and the Bonzai Pipeline. North Shore Marketplace is also home to several shops, art galleries (including Wyland’s) and a popular coffee shop (Coffee Gallery,) and within walking distance of most of the rest of Haleiwa town.
At a Glance:
With thirty premium tequilas to choose from, Cholo’s margaritas are one of the most popular items and fresh squeezed juices add a local twist to the traditional drink. Steaming platters of fajitas, sized-to-share nachos loaded with meat and cheese, extra spicy chili verde, and many more traditional and island-tweaked Mexican dishes round out the menu. Indoor and outdoor seating is available, and if there is a wait, guests can grab a drink at the bar and enjoy it on one of the outdoor benches while waiting for a table. A daily happy hour offers drink and food specials.

Haleiwa (North Shore Marketplace)
930AM to 9PM
Casual, family friendly, colorful Mexican decor
Most Popular Menu Items: Taco Salad, Cholo’s Nacho Special, Cholo’s Fish Tacos
Staff recommendations:
Fish Burrito, Ahi Taco Salad, Tamale Plate, Chili Verde
Link to menu:

Food Menu


Website: www.cholos.mx
Phone: 808-637-3059
Address: 66-250 Kamehameha Highway, Haleiwa, HI 96712
Parking Tips:
Free parking is available throughout the North Shore Marketplace.