Students learn traditional fishing, sailing techniques
The nonprofit Kamaaina United to Protect the Aina-Friends of Hookena Beach Park hosted Paa Pono from Milolii and Na Pea from Keauhou for a weekend event April 25 though 27.
Friday night, students from Milolii and Na Pea and fishermen from both Hookena and Milolii prepared palu, or bait, comprised of pumpkin, avocado and papaya. Handfuls of palu were then placed in a kaai bag and tossed from the canoe to attract the opelu. On Saturday morning one of the head fishermen from Hookena led students in canoes and began to palu. Within minutes the opelu started to aggregate. Nets specifically made to catch opelu were lowered beneath the fish and the opelu were led into the nets with palu. No fish were taken as students looked through glass boxes to view the fish.
Following the Saturday morning fishing activities students returned to shore and prepared the three sailing canoe that were brought by Na Pea. Na Pea is a new program supported by the National Parks that aims to teach students Hawaiian traditions around sailing canoe. The canoes were lashed the previous day following protocol. The sun was low on the horizon when the students completed lashing the iako and ama. On Saturday the mast and sail were outfitted and the canoes readied for sailing. Hawaiian sailing canoes are also meant to be paddled and on Saturday sailors experienced both. Several voyages were made that day with students exchanging what they had learned.
On Saturday night, Paa Pono presented slides and videos on their Opelu Project to the more than 100 in attendance.
The weekend activities closed on Sunday morning with everyone given the opportunity to speak of their experience.