“My father’s been sailing from before when I was born. I always grew up around the canoe. I never sailed on it, but I always saw this canoe as something that I knew that he had a strong connection to, but as a child growing up, I really didn’t understand it. …I remember just getting on the canoe and in the early morning hours, everything is so calm and I was just under this blanket of stars, and I’d never ever experienced anything like that. All this time I’m steering the canoe and my dad’s talking to me, he’s talking to me about the stars and that just one sail…like broke down all the walls and was like, there is so much around you and there’s so much that you can learn from your environment,” says Apprentice Navigator, Kalā Baybayan.
“It’s taken us quite some time to get into this generational shift and now we’re getting to a level where our children are participating. It was very, very rewarding for me to have my daughter show great interest in navigation. But I always tell her she’s got to demonstrate her own willingness to learn by her own commitment to that learning process,” says Pwo Navigator, Kālepa Baybayan.
A learning process that Pwo Navigator, Kālepa Baybayan is intimately familiar with, one that he went through with his own mentor.
Kālepa says, “I was challenged to preserve this art, quite frankly as a Pwo Navigator it was really, Mau, passing on the stewardship of the art, but at the root of this is that you are an educator. You’re a person who has to, preserve the art, and the way to preserve the art is, is to share it.”
Educaiton specialists are embedded on both waʻa for every leg of the voyage.
Education Coordinator, Miki Tomita says that, “the Education Specialist basically helps to maintain that focus on education outreach.”
As one of these education speacialists, Kalā is following in her father’s footsteps, not only as a navigator but also an educator.
“Educating and making positive contributions to her community, it’s very satisfying for me personally, to be involved and to help mentor her, but it’s also personally satisfying for me to work with this whole new generation of very young, very engaged, and uh, very promising, future leaders,” says Kālepa.
Kalā says that, “Him and all the other Pwo Navigators they’re like these super heroes with these superpowers. How could I ever be at their level?”
“It is a process as they develop their own leadership skills. My hope for today’s generation is that they can harness our ability and then to elevate it and to amplify our level of proficiency and doing good work and carry us into the future,” says Kālepa.
Kalā says, “I want to definitely do the best that I can do at whatever I do so if it’s learning and sharing information, I need to take that to the highest point, so that what I do, I come home and it’s not for nothing…it’s for something, it’s for the continuation of voyaging.”