Kaho'lawe & Navigation

Kaho’olawe’s Past • Kaho’olawe’s Today

Kaho’olawe is situated at the piko (navel) of the Hawaiian chain; this central location made the island ideally positioned to observe, teach and learn the winds, ocean currents and trajectories of the sun and stars – the essential tools of non-instrument navigation.

Kaho'olawe's Past

For more than a thousand years, guided by their intimacy with nature, na ho’okele kahiko (ancient navigators) embarked upon the historic months-long voyages between Hawai’i and Tahiti from a traditional launching site – the westernmost point of Kaho’olawe – known as Lae’o Kealaikahiki (Point of the Pathway to Tahiti).

By knowing where the sun rises and sets on the horizon, plus the direction and characteristics of winds and currents, the navigator determines the canoe’s position during the day. At night, guided by na hoku pa’a (the fixed stars), which also follow seasonal sky routes, the navigator holds course relative to those trajectories until the sun rises again

Kaho'olawe's Today

Kaho’olawe is still recognized as an ideal classroom for new generations of non-instrument navigators.

In October of 2004, the Kaho’olawe Island Reserve Commission, together with the Project Kaho’olawe ‘Ohana, Grand Master Navigator Mau Piailug of Satawal, and the captains and crew members of hte eight voyaging canoes of Hawai’i, dedicated an observation platform at Lae’o Kealaikahiki for use as a centerpiece for the education and training of novice and future wayfinders from the voyaging ‘ohana (family) of Hawaii.

Like their ancestors before them, today’s navigators sail into the vastness of the seas guided solely by the winds, the ocean currents, the sun, and stars.

The kaho’olawe Island Reserve Commission manages the island of kaho’olawe and its surrounding waters. Support of KIRC’s cultural, environmental and marine resources restoration programs may be made by tax-deductible donations to the Kaho’olawe Island Rehabilitation Trust Fund. For more information please contact the Kaho’olawe Island Reserve commission at (808) 243-5020 or visit www.kahoolawe.hawaii.gov.

Mahalo to Polynesian Voyaging Society and Na’alehu Anthony/Paliku Documentary Films for the use of the voyaging canoe image. Mahalo to Hoaloha ‘Aina, Ho’olawa Farms and the Hawai’i Tourism Authority for their support.

Kaho'olawe's Today

Kaho’olawe is still recognized as an ideal classroom for new generations of non-instrument navigators.

In October of 2004, the Kaho’olawe Island Reserve Commission, together with the Project Kaho’olawe ‘Ohana, Grand Master Navigator Mau Piailug of Satawal, and the captains and crew members of hte eight voyaging canoes of Hawai’i, dedicated an observation platform at Lae’o Kealaikahiki for use as a centerpiece for the education and training of novice and future wayfinders from the voyaging ‘ohana (family) of Hawaii.

Like their ancestors before them, today’s navigators sail into the vastness of the seas guided solely by the winds, the ocean currents, the sun, and stars.

The kaho’olawe Island Reserve Commission manages the island of kaho’olawe and its surrounding waters. Support of KIRC’s cultural, environmental and marine resources restoration programs may be made by tax-deductible donations to the Kaho’olawe Island Rehabilitation Trust Fund. For more information please contact the Kaho’olawe Island Reserve commission at (808) 243-5020 or visit www.kahoolawe.hawaii.gov.

Mahalo to Polynesian Voyaging Society and Na’alehu Anthony/Paliku Documentary Films for the use of the voyaging canoe image. Mahalo to Hoaloha ‘Aina, Ho’olawa Farms and the Hawai’i Tourism Authority for their support.

Maui Sailing Charters

When sailing in Maui, there are many options. Below are some of our favorite Maui Sailing Tour boats. 

Kai Kanani

Maalaea Harbor Slip #56
65ft Catamaran (808) 879-7218

Pacific Whale Foundation

Ocean Spirit at Lahaina Harbor Slip #4 luxury catamaran

Maui Classic Charters

Maalaea Harbor Slip #80 & 55
55ft Catamaran (808) 879-8188

Trilogy

Maalaea Harbor Slip #99 & #62, and in Lahaina too!
50 ft Catamaran (808) 874-5649

Fun Sailing Facts

Gybing = turning away from the direction of the wind.

Tacking = turning into and through the wind.

Running = sailing with the wind direction.

Reaching= sailing at a right angle to the wind. This is the fastest way to sail.

Heaving To = is a way of completely stopping for a moment while the sails are full.

More About Maui

The Haleakala Crater sits over 10,000 feet above sea level and above most weather. This, along with the clean clear skies in the Pacific make it one of the 5 most important Astronomical sites in the world.

The access to clear stars has always been important to Hawaii. Before electronic and magnetic instruments, the ancient Hawaiian and Polynesians guided their boats across the ocean by watching the “Fixed Stars.”