About Na Kaleikaumaka Outrigger Camps
The Last Hawaiian Mariner
(condensed version)
by Kawika Sands © 1999

Kila's Voyaging Lesson

Chapter 10
Mo`ikeha ordered a large number of bird catchers to the cliffs along the coast for the feathers of the mamo (a small sea bird) from which to create an alaneo, a royal mantle made only of mamo feathers, for La`a as his battle cloak. As but a single small yellow feather under each wing of the mamo was used, the task of capturing the many thousands of birds was required. As only the choicest feathers were used in making the cloak, it was one of the most brilliant and elaborate ever made on Kaua`i and represented the labor of a hundred persons for a year.

Meanwhile, Mo`ikeha began teaching and training Kila what he remembered of the voyage and knew of the navigational arts of sea, sky, land and living things. How to detect a surface current and compensate for the wind, how the clouds piled up over islands, how a light blue sea indicated a reef below and how the a reflection from a lagoon could paint the bottom of a cloud. He told Kila of memories of the schools of fish, small islands, atolls and reefs along the way and birds like the kiolea and the kolea which flew between Kahiki and Hawai`i and how each behaved. "Each of these things will point the way to Kahiki and back. But if you can read the ocean, you will never be lost." When everything neared completion, Mo`ikeha told Kila of Lanikeha, his enemies in Moa`ulanuiakea and Lu`ukia.

When preparations were nearly complete, Mo`ikeha then advised Kila "When you sail from here, call on your aunts. They are living on the eastern side of O`ahu, facing Moloka`i. When you call on them, they will recognize you." Mo`ikeha ordered a number of large double-hulled sailing canoes readied for open sea. Sails were made from the young leaves of the pandanus plant and provisions were gathered and stowed just as he had ordered when he left Kahiki.

With the time for Kila's voyage at hand, Mo`ikeha gave permission for Kila to join his older brothers. "I am not going to keep you from your brothers any longer. The journey you are about to undertake may take you away from them forever. So, you may accompany them from now until you leave. In the days following the kapu days of the temple, you shall sail for Kahiki."

Kila replied "You must not permit me to accompany my brothers, I might be killed. I think you ought to provide me with a god so they will fear the god and will be prevented from killing me. Then I think it will be safe for me to accompany my brothers." Mo`ikeha saw his son's good judgment in the matter. He called his sons together and told them that they must now have a god. When the boys did not consent to this, Mo`ikeha approved of Kila's discretion and refused to allow Kila to accompany his brothers on their excursions.

Soon, Kila was ready to set sail. Mo`ikeha picked the men to accompany him. Kamahualele, the poet and astrologer, was appointed as his traveling companion. Kilokilo was selected as Kila's special counselor and chief navigator. Kipunuiaiakamau and his companion were also chosen as navigators and steersmen. Kaukaukamunolea and his companion were selected as lookouts, and Kapahi and Moanaikaiaiwa were selected as the paddlers.

Upon the express wish of Kamahualele, Kila took Kuaiwilu and Kauineno. Ho`okamali`i and Haulaninuiaiakea pleaded with their father to be allowed on the expedition. Mo`ikeha replied "Will you accept a god then?" The two boys saw they had little choice and begrudgingly accepted the terms. Kila would be safe in charge, and leading from the pola up and between the hulls while each of them would take their places in the hulls themselves. With the kahuna, Wanahili, as the thirteenth crew member, all was ready.

Mo`ikeha ordered Kilokilo to see if his son's journey would be safe. After reading the signs, he announced the journey would be safe and with the work on La`a's cape was completed in time, the time for Kila's departure was set. At the sighting of the star hoku-ho`okele-wa`a, Kila set sail for O`ahu.

Arriving off the shore of eastern shore of O`ahu where his aunts were living, he called out "My greetings to you, Makapu`u and Makaaoa." Makapu`u and Makaaoa replied, "Who are you?" "I am Kila of the uplands, Kila of the lowlands, Kila-pa-Wahineikamalanai (Kila born of the woman of the trade winds). I am the offspring of Mo`ikeha." "Is Mo`ikeha still alive then?" "Yes, he is still alive." "What kind of life is he living?" "Dwelling in ease on Kaua`i, the sun rising and setting, the surf of Makaiwa breaking unevenly, the kukui blossoms of Puna changing, the waters of Wailua spreading out. He will live and die on Kaua`i." "What brings you here?" they asked. "I am searching for a chief." "What chief?" "La`amaikahiki."

Clik to enlarge Kila left O`ahu and sailed for Kala`au Point where Mo`ikeha's friend Kakakauhanui was living. While there, he saved Kila from the tide Kupa that threatened to drag Kila and the canoes to the bottom. Kila visited all of the people left by Mo`ikeha, from O`ahu to Hawai`i. After setting to sea from Punalu`u, they proceeded to Pu`u Ali`i Point and sailed onward to Kahiki.

Kilokilo asked Kila "Do you see the Southern Cross?" "Yes" Kila answered. "Do you see how the distances between the horizon, lower star in the Southern Cross and the upper star in the Southern Cross are nearly the same?" "Yes" Kila repeated. Measuring an imaginary line before them in the sky with the width of his hand and knuckles Kilokilo illustrated. "When Kaulia crosses our path there (50°alt. above the horizon) and Ka Mole Honua crosses our path there (44°alt. above the horizon), and the star `A`a is nearly over head, we will be near Opoa . . ." So began Kila's voyaging lesson.

Part 19<< -|- Index -|- >> Part 21

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