Birth of Kaigani:

Kaigani was transformed from tree to canoe with care and years of building experience by master boat builders John Guzwell and Jono Saunders of Port Townsend, WA. Kaigani was named after the forest where the timber was harvested for her creation (the same forest that produced the timber for the Hawai’ian Double-Hulled canoe, Hawai’iloa) located in the Haida Gwaii, Queen Charlotte Islands. Kaigani is a Hawai’ian outrigger canoe specifically designed for the waters of the Salish Sea. She will ultimately be rigged in Polynesian style for Canoe Sailing.

The Kaigani voyaging canoe comes to the Community and Youth of the San Juan Islands with an existing vision.

We will carry forward and continue her work. As paddlers we believe the canoe has its own spirit, a life of its own. We choose to live that not only in respect but in stewardship. Kaigani will be an ambassador of canoe culture, bringing her voyaging spirit and experience to new people, young and old.

The people who arrived in Hawai’i a millennium ago were voyagers and continue to voyage throughout the world. The Hawai’ians, Polynesians and Coast Salish First Nations are canoe people, traveling on man powered and wind powered canoes across great distances.

So, Why a Hawai’ian Voyaging Canoe in the Salish Sea?

Why the Inclusion of Hawai’ian voyaging traditions into one component of a project-based voyaging & stewardship curriculum serving the community of the San Juan Islands, connections and relationships with the Salish tribes, and Washington mainland?

There is a deep cultural and historical connection between Hawai’i, the San Juan Islands, Vancouver Island, BC and near coastal islands.

The mo’olelo (oral and written history) is full of stories of early Hawai’ians and their presence on San Juan Island.

We integrate the Hawai’ian Sailing Wa’a into our conservation and experiential programs on San Juan Island, Friday Harbor, WA to honor the history of Kanaka whose home is our home. What happens to the children and people on the shores of the Salish Sea, happens to the children and the peoples of Hawai’i nei.

The stories are interconnected within the current healing process of coast Salish indigenous peoples, it is interconnected to the Hawai’ian story; and more importantly the unfolding of this story in the Salish Sea is rooted in Aloha and the unconditional love that binds us to our Island Earth, all living beings, the Universe, and the Great Spirit.

Our vision for Kaigani is to connect with the natural elements of the Salish Sea while discovering the richness of canoe culture, ocean travel and awareness, through voyaging, discovery and experiential education. We enter this mission with humility and reverence of our natural world, Polynesian and Coast Salish knowledge and seek to better our understanding of past, present and future. To stand in solidarity with those that protect the sacred and honor our natural resources. Discovering the richness of wildlife, the water, the land, the trees, the elk, the eagles, the salmon, the orca, the communities, the people of today and the people who have come before.

Through voyaging we understand the importance of teamwork, community, and that each one of us is a leader and a contributor, providing assets and resources that help us all reach the next step. We discover what it means to live in the moment and disconnect from the stresses of modern life, as we stretch out beyond our comfort zone, to a place where land and ocean meet and possibilities arise.

Program Inspirations & Lineage

Matt & Melissa Wickey are both part of the International mentor network for The Tracking Project, out of Corrales, New Mexico. We are blessed to be a part of this amazing family and to assist in passing on the wisdom and teachings passed down by friend and teacher, Uncle John Stokes.

A lot of inspiration and curriculum for the Canoe programs comes from these important teachings for our youth while integrating Polynesian Wayfinding and ocean voyaging & Hawai’ian canoe culture as passed down as Kuleana (responsibility) earned and given honor to perpetuate the teachings from many inspirations, Kupuna, Uncles, & colleagues from across Hawai’i nei. We honor this kuleana and give humbly with grace and open hearts, with one mind, for all Children of the world.

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