Crew Profile: Lehua Kamalu

Crew Profile: Lehua Kamalu

If you’re given this opportunity to learn and to practice that no one else in the world gets, I think you have to be understanding of that.

My name is Erica Lehua Kamalu. I always go by Lehua. I actually heard about it [the Worldwide Voyage] from my sister, who said, ʻYou know, they’re getting together, and they’re planning this Worldwide Voyageʻ at the time. I don’t think I’m an ocean person to begin with honestly. I think one of the things I’ve always been really good at is math and sciences. So there was the interest in the engineering aspect of it,” said Lehua Kamalu, an apprentice navigator on Hōkūleʻa.

With this background and experience, Lehua was tasked with helping in logistics for the canoes as they embark on this epic voyage.

“I’m a pretty cautious risk taker I’d say. I do like to know everything before I dive in. I want to know all the things that can go wrong, and everything that I can do to get ready if I want to go in,” said Lehua.

Programed to think like an engineer, Lehua also had some difficulty adjusting to life aboard a voyaging canoe as an apprentice navigator during the Worldwide Voyage.

“I would have hoped to have at least crewed on a deep-sea leg before going into this, approaching it through the lens of navigation. Just thinking about all these observations you’ll be making, and how you’ll be able to quickly, efficiently, and confidently to pull all that information together,” said Lehua.

With this level of kuleana, Lehua also keeps in mind that this navigational training is an ongoing process

“It’s always a struggle because it is such a huge commitment of time, not just leading up to the voyage and while you’re sailing, but also long term. What does it look like in ten years, what am I doing in twenty years. If you’re given this opportunity to learn and to practice that no one else in the world gets, I think you have to be understanding of that going into it. You will never reach this combination of, alright, you got it, this is how it goes. Being open to being comfortable with the level of confidence you have and understanding you have and knowing that you just can’t know everything,” said Lehua.

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