Kumu Crew: Road Trip

April 21, 2016

In from Kaniela Lyman-Mersereau ‘05

The past two days I've been on road duty (everyone gets two or three days) coordinating safe marinas to stop at, grocery shopping and finding any other items we need for Hokule‘a. The houses are smaller and more reasonable inland. One-story homes compared to four or five stories we see from the canoe. Remnants of old plantation homes no doubt. On the first day the view consisted of a flat landscape punctuated by KFCs, Burger Kings and strip malls.

Yesterday, we found ourselves on a beautiful drive surrounded by open countryside and every shade of green and yellow foliage. It's a great view, almost as good as the sights and sounds on Hokule‘a. My wing passenger yesterday was Punahou graduate Robbie Anderson. The 71-year-old passed the two hour drive time well with stories of flying fighter jets in Vietnam and the old days at Punahou School. Robbie is a classic character who found himself in the right place at the right time. My first adventure with Hokule‘a for Ka‘au's captain training in 2010 was with Robbie on the escort boat, Kama Hele.

It's amazing how it has all come full circle. I have not seen him until this crew came together. We've all been getting close and always find a good laugh in this youthful, old man. He moves at the pace of a three-toed sloth but I can always count on him to steer us straight on the water. An incident a few years back with a captured flying squirrel has given him the new nickname, "flying squirrel." With a big lunge and two arms lifted to the air he lets us know he's ready when we yell "flying squirrel!!"

The open road is somewhat of a shock after getting used to the rhythm of sliding along the waterway, but I must admit it is nice to hide from the cold and sun for a day. Our day finishes with another successful docking in a sleepy town called Belhaven. Chicken curry prepared on the canoe is a perfect ending to another beautiful day in North Carolina. Robbie and I try our best not to brag about the amazing softshell crab, shrimp and grits we had along the way. The crew and Hokule‘a are happy and healthy bundled up under a full moon and clear skies.

Until tomorrow. Many more miles to go...