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A Native Hawaiian Place of Learning for Voyagers of the World

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The traditional hālau wa’a was a longhouse, a covered structure near the shoreline dedicated to all matters related to canoes, and whose linear measure could provide ample shelter for vessels of sizeable length. 

Home  /  Hālau Wa’a (Crew Training)  /  Swim Test

March 2021

Swim Test

Aloha! We did our swim today.
Prior to getting on the boats today, Nainoa shared with us about family, the voyaging family. He said, “If you choose to voyage, you become a part of the voyaging family.” We celebrate as a family. We grieve together as a family. Today, we learned about the passing of Nainoa’s cousin, and about the grandson of one of our voyaging family who is in the hospital. Nainoa encouraged us to send our love, aloha, and prayer in our own personal way. It matters. He taught us about conditioning ourselves to be strong to handle all adversity, that we must do it humbly and quietly. In the end, it’s about responsibility and it’s about family. We have chosen to be a part of this voyaging family. We support each other. Watch as we swim together as one family from start to finish.


For the swimming test, we’re required to do 1 mile in under 90 minutes. The plan was to do 3/4 mile or 1 hour, whichever came first. We ended up swimming 1.5 miles and we did it in just over an hour. I know you can’t tell by the watching the video, but we were probably swimming in about 20-30 feet deep water. The wind was pretty strong, but we stayed together and swam in one pack. We learned that we must stick together, to take care of each other, to never leave anyone behind. We are a voyaging family.

We got there a little before sunset and started on our task to build a star compass using just the sun as our reference point.

Learn the basic knots for sailing and wayfinding! View the video, grab a rope and practice tying these knots.