My Polynesian Voyaging – Part 1

Scan 22

Sailing on the E’ala on Kaneohe Bay

This post is dedicated to the Hokule’a’s voyage and Hawaiian Renaissance from 1976 to now that culminates in its return from the 3 year voyage around the world that will bring the canoe home in less than two weeks. It is also dedicated to my late teacher, windsurfing and kitesurfing friend Ka’au McKenney.

Germany and Europe was a dark place in the mid/late 70’s. The urban guerrilla and the state’s response created a paranoid society with limited perspectives for the young and adventurous, not unlike the US after 9.11.  I dropped out of college, joined one of the first German punk rock bands and landed at JFK with a one way ticket on May 5th 1978 and immersed my self in New York’s burgeoning new rock’n roll scene. After 10 years in New York, two years in the USVI and 7 years on Oahu teaching windsurfing and Taiji, I decided to go back to school. My first class at Windward Community College was the two semester course on Polynesian Voyaging. During the Tues/Thur class we learned about celestial navigation, marine biology, geology, biology and Hawaiian studies. The Saturday labs involved working on the Hokule’a and lots of sailing, ultimately to Molokai and back. Here is my lab report from fall 1997. The spring semester will be covered in the next blog. Enjoy!

All photos taken by the author except the one he is in. From top to bottom: 1. Swimming under the E’ala with view of the lashings. 2. Jean Young working on the Hokule’a while she was in dry dock. 3. Sailing on the E’ala on Kaneohe Bay, the largest bay in the Hawaiian islands protected by a barrier reef. 4. Junior a Micronesian specialist lashing the Hokule’a. 5. The Ea’ala heading towards Kualoa. 6. The Hawai’iloa and all wood double hull sailing canoe build after and with the experience of the Hokule’a. 7. 8. The E’ala on Kaneohe Bay. 9. Leimomi Dirks and Jean Young on the steering paddle of the E’ala. 10. Ka’au McKenney on the left and yours truly on the main sheet. 11. Sailing into the sunset.

Hokulea at Sea

“The Hokule’a at Sea” woodcut, 13″ X 14″, dieter runge, 2017 in commemoration of the Hokule’a’s 3 year voyage around the world Malama Honua – Take care of the Earth



2 thoughts on “My Polynesian Voyaging – Part 1

  1. keoni ford

    Aloha Mr. Dieter Runge,
    mahalo for posting this wonderful blog on polyneisian voyaging and your experience on board the E Ala.
    Would you please contact me at 808 554 9247 I would request your support to help us restore E ala for the next round of adventurers and wayfinders. We are at a piviotal time in her restoration and program development. Finding this publication dated of 1997 is so important to her histroy and we would love to connect with you.

    mahalo and kind regards
    Keoni Ford
    Chairman of the Board of Directors
    E Ala Voyaging Academy

    1. Claus Runge Post author

      Just got of the phone with Keoni Ford and will meet with him and support his effort of restoring the E Ala so she can make a contribution to the continuing resurgence of the Hawaiian culture again.
      I always wonder why kind of impact, if any, my blogs have. In this case it has already been amazing. I feel blessed and honored. Aloha, dieter


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s