Students immersed in maritime learning

NAWILIWILI — In Japan, they teach you in a pool, said Kiyoko Ikeda, international education coordinator for Kauai Community College.

“They teach you to swim,” she said. “They teach you to go fast. Over here, in the ocean, you don’t need to go fast. You learn to be comfortable in the water which reduces your chances of drowning.”

Ikeda was with a group of 16 students representing four maritime colleges in Japan waiting on the arrival of a certified water safety instructor who was going to work with the students on being comfortable in the ocean.

The course in ocean safety is only part of the students’ curriculum for their three-week stay which ends Wednesday when the students return to Japan.

“There are only five maritime colleges in Japan,” Ikeda said. “These students come from four of the five colleges.”

Ikeda said the students will be involved with the Hikianalia, the sister sailing canoe of the Hokulea, when she comes to visit Kauai this weekend, coinciding with ‘Imi Na‘auao Crew Training which is by registration only, and the viewing of the film “Papa Mau The Wayfinder” produced by Naalehu Anthony of Oiwi TV.

“The workshops which start Friday are by registration only,” Ikeda said. “But the film being shown Monday is open to the public.”

Organized by the ‘Ohana Wa‘a, an organization which is made up of the various voyaging organizations of Hawaii, the workshop is an opportunity for potential crew, including the Japanese maritime college students, from the various islands and communities to train together toward a common goal.

During the workshop, participants will have hands-on experiences with the Kauai Sailing Association junior sailors in sailing dinghies in Nawiliwili Harbor.

“Papa Mau The Wayfinder” is a feature-length documentary that takes a retrospective look at the influence of Mau Piailug, a native from the Micronesian atoll of Satawal, on reviving the art of non-instrument navigation in Polynesia.

Navigators in Satawal are chosen at birth and start training at an early age.

Mau is recognized as a master and agreed to navigate Hokulea on her maiden voyage to Tahiti using only his knowledge of the heavens and the ocean. The union of navigator and canoe became a driving force and reawakening of cultural pride and unity throughout Polynesia.

Also showing Monday is an update of Hokulea’s World Wide Voyage, Malama Honua and the Namahoe story.

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