Hawaiian Canoes on Flickr

I will never forget this very sunny day of May 13th 1995, en route from Mililani to Honolulu to visit the various Pacific Rim canoes that were meeting on Oahu and mooring on Pier 36, also called The Keehi canoe lagoon.

It was an exciting day as I was very conscious that such a gathering of various type voyaging canoes in one single place may not happen that soon again, maybe for the duration of an entire generation.

I felt that there was a unique occasion to take photos of all those canoes, in particular to take pictures of the construction, lashing and rigging of each one of them so that when the time comes that a next generation or group of people wants to build the same type of canoes, they will not again have to figure out how those vessels were built and assembled. Indeed, some of those proud canoes will end up bowing their prow on a sandy beach and slowly go to waste in the burning sun of the Pacific. All that will be left is some photographic documentation of their construction and ensuing epic voyages across and beyond the Polynesian Triangle.

I remember meeting Ben Finney at the Pier, in my eyes the real hero of that fascinating story called “HOKULE’A”. Ben Finney’s book “Hokule’a, the way to Tahiti” was the inspiration for my very first scale model of the double hulled voyaging canoe. Ben explained to me the origin and signification of the prow ornaments on the Te’Aurere canoe while I was taking pictures of it. Crew members of the Hawai’iloa invited me on deck and let me take pictures and measurements, while others, on the Makali’I took down the mast.

I shot 6 rolls of film negatives that day and when I came home placed them all into a box with the intention to have it developed within a few days. Days became months and month’s years. Some 13 years later I finally had those negatives developed and their photos are now on Flickr for everybody to see and study.