The Maiden crew in Hawaii had a very special evening yesterday, with Kauilani Kahalekai from Kaua’i Island, blessing Maiden with a ‘Send Off Blessing’ for a safe journey to Vancouver.
The ceremony began with the Ho’okupu (gifts and offerings), along with beautiful wishes and prayers to the ocean to the Na Wahine (many women) and to the Wahine O Ke Kai (women of the ocean). Kauilani Kahalekai was joined by accomplished paddlers from the Waikiki Yacht Club (girls from local schools aged between 16-19) who then called to their ancestors to come in.
The crew were honoured to receive beautiful leis (a lei in Hawaiian culture is a wreath of flowers which is often presented upon arriving or leaving as a symbol of affection). They were extra special, as all the leis were made by CJ Perez (age 15), who was inspired when she saw Maiden arrive into Honolulu. An avid sailor already, CJ races in the 29’ers and one day hopes to sail on Maiden herself!
There were two types of leis presented to the crew. The Haku leis are worn on the head and are made with ti leaves, for protection. The second leis were placed around the neck, and are made with orchids (often given to visitors to Hawaii and also given as a thank you). And it wasn’t just the crew who received leis: Maiden also was given a Haku lei, which was placed on the bow. It was a moving sight as everyone came together, took rose petals and made a wish. These then were put in leaves, tied up and presented to Wendy. Finally, when they leave Hawaiian waters, the crew will place them in the sea to complete the ceremony. Rose petals were also thrown onto Maiden herself – and the crew!
There wasn’t a dry eye onboard as Kauilani performed the Ama Kua chant, which called on their ancestor guardians to protect the ladies on their journey. She also did a ‘Pono’ to support teamwork and cohesion. Everyone at the ceremony held hands and asked for forgiveness, forgave, hugged and said ‘I love you’ and a ‘Lokahi’ for everyone working together! (Lokahi is the Hawaiian word for unity.)
A special thank you to Nikki DeHeart, from the Hawaii Yacht Club, who was incredibly supportive of Maiden throughout her stay in Honolulu. She also was instrumental in the blessing ceremony organisation, so we are very grateful as it was a magical and moving end to a wonderful stopover. And who knows – we may see Nikki onboard Maiden one day!
Maiden is departing from Hawaii Yacht Club this Thursday between 10-11am. If you’re around, we’d love see you at the departure – come and wave goodbye or join Maiden on the water, as there are set to be a small flotilla escorting the crew out.