Beautiful Day for Blessing of the Canoes

Aloha kakou ohana,

A giant mahalo to everyone who participated in our “Blessing of the Canoes” yesterday. I can’t begin to describe how strong a feeling of Ohana yesterday brought with everyone sharing in the true “spirit of aloha”. We had a fabulous turnout, including many of our new and former members who came from near and far, to share the day.

This all started with the gracious support from our good friends at 101 Surf Shop (David Wells and Cort Larned) for opening up their hearts and sharing their home with He’e Nalu…without which this event would not have been so special.

From the blowing of the pu (conch shell) by three of our paddlers (Gordon Masor, Jon Inman, Bob Dreher) and  led by Jim (Kimo) Berrell (PIKO) to begin the ceremony, it was a very traditional and special day indeed. The event included history of the club by one our founders (Les Scanlan), discussion of some of the races around the world in which our paddlers have participated and the introduction of our canoes by many of our new members (who also placed the ti leis on the manu ihu (bow) of the canoes).

Our own fabulous Dale Hamakawa led the ceremony with the opening chant, sharing the significance of the circle and the leis…followed by another chant during the laying of the leis. Founder Les Scanlan and his son, Nalu, joined our president, Nicole Sholly, in the blessing of our fleet of canoes as well as the 20 or so additional personal watercraft who participated.

Our honoree, Uncle Bob Ness, led the paddlers out in the “John O’Brien” to make the offering on the water…asking for support and protection. The crew included Uncle Mike Gale sitting center (Kupuna), Ben Vasquez sitting stroker (former keiki who is rejoining), new members Steve Wegner, Tim Cogliandro and Larry Goodman, representing the “full circle”.

All in attendance closed the ceremony by joining our incredible musicians (PIKO), lead by Del Medina, in the singing of “Hawaii Aloha”…a song which is sung as a tribute to the sovereignty movement of the Hawaiian nation.

We then broke out into party mode…the Hawaiian luau was so ono (delicious) with the likes of Kalua pig and musubi…with music and hula led by PIKO and the ukulele family ohana during the traditional “kanikapila”(jam session). Many of our members joined in by strumming the ukulele and singing songs to the likes of “One paddle, Two paddle” and participating by dancing the hula, led by Charlotte, to songs which included “In a Canoe”.

All in all, the whole experience could not have felt any better. Again, mahalo nui loa to everybody for working so hard to ensure that our day was as wonderful as it was.


Bob Dreher and the He’e Nalu Board