Nā Peʻa crew members learn 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 using traditional lashing techniques and the skills to sail a canoe on the open ocean. Emphasis is placed on student crew members running the canoe completely by themselves.
Single hull, single outrigger, Opelu fishing canoes with "Crab Claw Sails" are used in our program. These canoes require a heighten level of attention and crew cooperation to operate effectively. The canoe hulls are made of fiberglass that have been molded off of 1800ʻs vintage Koa canoe. 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.
The program is offered at no expense to student crew members.