Category Archives: Malama Honua

My Polynesian Voyaging Pt 2

This covers the Spring 1998 semester of my yearlong Polynesian Voyaging class. We still sailed the E’ala but worked more and more on the Hokule’a, rigging the canoe after it was put back into the water, test sailing it over several weekends all around Oahu’s South Shore and eventually sailing it to Molokai and back. We worked together with a Hawaiian Studies class from the University of Hawaii’s Manoa campus. We also got to work and sail with Nanoa Thompson, who was the first Hawaiian to re-learn traditional navigation from the Micronesian master Mau Pialug and is still a major leader and inspiration in the Hawaiian Renaissance and environmental education. Showing up every morning at 5;00 AM at Nainoa’s house for the Molokai sail for several days in a row only to be denied by strong winds and high seas, we eventually made, still having solid wind and seas, which made for an exciting adventure. I feel blessed to have had this experience and am very thankful for all the great teaching I received. Aloha!

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The masts and rigging of the Hawailoa at Sand Island


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Sailing on the E’ala on Kaneohe Bay


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Celebration with native Alaskans – Kaneohe Bay near Kulaoa

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The Hokule’a being towed in Maunalua Bay

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The Hokule’a in the Molokai Channel



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Ka’au McKenney and Nainoa Thompson at work on the Hokule’a

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The Hokule’a off Le’ahi (Diamond Head)

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Watershed in Kaneohe town


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Hokulea off Kualoa 9:50

Hokule’a off Kuala, woodcut, 15″ x 18 1/2″, dieter runge, 2017

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The steering paddle of the Hokule’a in action.


My Polynesian Voyaging – Part 1

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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