The crew aboard the Hokulea could not believe their eyes and ears when they arrived at Saint John’s in the Virgin Islands Sunday morning.
Two former Kauai residents, Bob Fleming and son Robert Kainoa Fleming, greeted them.
“The Kauai connection. Very cool,” said Orlando “O” Anaya, coach for Mokihana Aquatics.
Bob and Kai made signs that read “Komo mai Hokulea” and “Eddie went. Congrats to local boy John John Florence.”
“When Hokulea docked about 7 a.m., Saint John’s time, Bob greeted the crew with a ‘Aloha Kakahiaka’ and the crew was floored,” Anaya said.
Anaya said Robert Kainoa Fleming is his nephew who graduated from Kapaa High School. Kainoa went on to become a cook at Olympic Cafe in Kapaa. Today, he lives at Saint John’s, where he is the lead cook at a hotel.
Bob Fleming was the head of maintenance at the Coconut MarketPlace for nearly 20 years. Bob and Robert lived on Kauai from 1979 until a few years ago when Bob returned home to manage his family property on Saint John U.S. Virgin Islands, where he is today the harbor master.
“He called to say Hokulea was tied up on his dock in the harbor,” Anaya said.
The stop at Saint John’s marks the latest stop on the Hawaiian voyaging canoe’s three-year Malama Honua worldwide tour, and is the canoe’s first landing at a U.S. territory since leaving Pago Pago, American Samoa in October, 2014.
“You heard it here first from Bob and Kai Fleming,” Anaya said.