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Mo`okiha O Pi`ilani: Launch Day, Part 1

Launch Day, Friday July 11th had finally arrived. The actual launch time was to coincide with the high tide that afternoon. I was there early to capture the ambiance of this historic day. The tractor unit was in place, connected to the carriage holding the boat, which it had hauled along Front Street the previous Sunday night.

Mo`okiha O Pi`ilani was poised at the head of the Mala boat ramp, ready to begin its journey into the modern history of Hawai`i — and, at the same time, helping preserve the Hawai`ian culture by teaching the young about the incredible accomplishments of their ancestors.

It seemed like everyone in attendance wanted their picture in this exact location — a way of saying, "I was there when history was made".

The huge steering oar had been updated with its home town freshly painted for all to see.

I joined in the fun of the record photos. I later recognized some of these folks during the festivities to follow later in the day.

I encountered this gentleman carrying a carved paddle and I asked him if it had a special significance for the festivities. He told me that actually it did not. It had been carved by a friend of his from Australia who was supposed to be in attendance today. So he brought it along to share old memories — and perhaps to make some new ones.

This sweet lady seemed right in the spirit of the celebration. I did not know at the time but she was to be the Mistress of Ceremonies.

I saw this guy with a great rig for getting around. He stopped and we chatted for a while before he continued on his journey to visit with old friends.

I had heard that the Governor was coming and these guys looked like security (note the earpiece that the guy on the left was wearing). We had a nice chat and found some common elements in that the guy on the left had relatives living in Phoenix.

As it got closer to launch time, a duo began entertaining the crowd from beneath a green tent.

A bit later, two new singers took "the stage" as the both the crowd and its anticipation grew. It was almost time to begin the formal ceremonies — which I will share next week.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com