You are here

Q&A for Voyagers of Nā Kālai Waʻa

Listed below are a series of questions from learners in our Nā Kālai Waʻa communities. For more information on how you can submt Questions to our voyagers, please email


Chadd Paishon and Makalii Crew at Kohala Elementary



Kohala Elementary School Questions for the Makaliʻi Crew (4/28/13)

Answers by Captain and Pwo Navigator Chadd Paishon

Q: What are the 8 canoes again?
A: Hokule`a, Hawai`iloa, Makali`i, Hokualaka`i, Iosepa, Mo`okiha a pi`ilani, Namahoe, Hikianalia

Q: What woods or natural materials are used to make the hull and sail?
A: traditionally koa for hulls and lauhala sails…
modern day wa`a fiberglass and dacron for sails

Q: What modern-day materials like nylon fiber, or  GPS system are used instead of ancient materials and techniques?
A: wa`a are still lashed together as in traditional times…non-instrument navigation is still utilized till this day….hulls and sails are of modern materials…only two wooden hulled wa`a in Hawai`i…Hawai`iloa & Iosepa

Q: What unique features make up each canoe?
A: size, shape of hulls and sail design…
each wa`a has it's own unique design

2. Living
Q: How is privacy maintained when taking care of bathroom, showering needs?
A: There is a designated area that has an awning for privacy

Q: How are sanitary conditions maintained on long (month to a year) voyages?
A: Each person carries their own personal hygiene items as well as the cleaning materials that are provided for the wa`a that are carried onboard. part of the duties of the crew is to maintain the cleanlinessof
 the wa`a which insures the same for the crew

Q: How do you keep your food cold on long voyages? What methods (drying, salting, cooling, cooking) of food preservation are used?
A: The food is kept and stored in the hulls that are cool at and below the water line…
every type of food preservation technique is utilized for food items

3. Responsibilities
Q: Who navigates during the night? Does the captain have a rotating schedule of people who navigate while others sleep?
A:There is one navigator and one captain in recent time BUT we have come to the point to have a navigator and captain in the same person…usually there is one navigator for each voyage…there are apprentices that are learning onboard the voyage but only one navigator that carries the responsibility of being the eyes of the wa`a

Q: Will there be someone to meet you at each stop during the Round the World Voyage?
A: Yes there will be crew flying ahead to prepare for the canoes arrival and to switch out with the onboard crew

Q: Who will help you with the language, customs of the people and replenishingof supplies?
A: In the Pacific we have ohana from each island group that will assist the canoes but when we continue out of the Pacific there are people who will assist us

4.  Dangers

Q: Have you, or any members, ever been attacked by a shark while voyaging in the Makali'i?  

A: No shark attacks have taken place on any of the crew members on Makali`i's sails…we have had sharks attack the fish that we were catching to eat for our meals and more than not they have always won

Q: How does the crew prepare for and handle storms or rough waters?

A: Our crews prepare by training onboard the wa`a before we leave on the voyage

Q: Should the wa'a become damaged and start taking in water, what measures are taken to preserve the canoe and it's members?  

A: Safety protocols are in place for fire, man over board, swamping and evacuation…SAFETY of the vessels and crew are the number consideration of each trip whether it is 20 miles down the coast or 2500 miles of open ocean crossing…these include constant watch duties in checking the hulls on each watch and pumping out any water that may be in the hulls…Emergency contact protocols with escort vessel due to damage or weather related emergencies are also practiced during trainings to implement in the event of an emergency

5. Reflection

Q: What are three positives and three negatives about long voyages on the Makali'i.
A: 3 Negatives; 1) time away from
 the rest of your family 2) missing birthdays or special events & 3) reaching your destination 3 POSITIVES 1) building another "family" onboard the canoe 2) the time, experiences and lessons you gain from the voyage 3)sharing those experiences with others

Nā Kālai Wa`a Contact Information

address: P.O. Box 748, Kamuela, HI 96743

office: Waimea Office Center, 65-1206 Mamalahoa Hwy, Suite 1-101, Kamuela, HI 96743

phone: 808-885-9500     fax: 808-887-1144     facebook:

Copyright (c) 2010 All rights reserved.