by Kendall Struxness
Day 1: Finally, after a year of planning, we are underway. As soon as we leave the protection of Nawiliwili Harbor on Kaua´i, the huge swells send everyone in search of safe shelter. We settle in for the two-day commute to Mokumanamana in the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.
Day 2: You can feel the anxiety and anticipation as we approach Mokumanamana and prepare the wa´a (canoe) for launch. Veteran paddlers ready themselves for the solitude and exhilaration of paddling. The new guys are pacing in bewilderment at the sheer magnitude of what they are about to do.
Day 3: The terns and frigates arrive in the middle of the night, sentinels of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. They came from our destination; we are happy for their company and guidance. Two birds join us, one on each side of the wa´a – escorts leading the way home. From the back, steering, I can see all five heads and 10 arms moving in unison in the moonlight. The birds staying in perfect rhythm, one on each side, for what seems like hours.