Nā Peʻa crew members learn about the cultural significance of the traditional Hawaiian canoe along with its connection to the Native Hawaiian Forest. Crew members also learn the mechanics of rigging a canoe and the skills to sail a canoe on the open ocean. Emphasis is placed on the student crew members running the canoe completely by themselves.
We use single hull, single outrigger, Opelu fishing canoes with "Crab Claw Sails" in our program. These canoes require a heighten level of attention and crew cooperation to operate effectively. While the hulls are made of fiberglass, they have been molded off of 1800ʻs vintage Koa canoes. Their weight and performance are like the original Koa canoes. The ʻiako and ama of the outrigger along with the mast and spars are made out of traditional Hawaiian woods.
Program activities are held on weekends over a 4 month period and consist of Day sails where crew members practice sailing, steering, and canoe balance techniques. Overnight coastal voyages allow crew members to develop sail plans, supply lists and emergency response plans unique to the specific voyage.
In addition crew members conduct research on the places we visit so we better understand the history and moʻoleo of these Wahi pana,
The target group for entry-level crew members is Middle School students living in the Kona District. Our regular meetings are held at Kīholo Bay at the Nature Conservancyʻs Kīholo Preserve.
The program is offered at no expense to student crew members.