Pacific Northwest News
Hana Pa`a Hawai`i, Hana Pa`a Alaska
By Sonny Bristol
Herbert Hoover once said: “To go fishing is the chance to wash one's soul with pure air, with the rush of the brook, or with the shimmer of sun on blue water. It brings meekness and inspiration from the decency of nature, charity toward tackle-makers, patience toward fish, a mockery of profits and egos, a quieting of hate, a rejoicing that you do not have to decide a darned thing until next week. And it is discipline in the equality of men - for all men are equal before fish”. Add to this mix some folks from Hawaii and you have your self a recipe for a good time.
I moved away from the islands back in the early 90’s and was certain of one thing: I would miss my fishing and more importantly the time spent fishing with my father and grandfather. Several years passed and fishing took a back seat to life. Then my dad suggested that we take a fishing trip to Alaska . The thought of fishing in Alaska conjured up thoughts of freezing cold temperatures. Would the weather be enough to defeat a couple of die hard fishermen from Hawaii? Not!
Okay, so it has been many years since that first trip to Alaska and what started out as a trial has now become a yearly tradition. We’ve tried different lodges and different locations from Anchorage, Alaska to the Queen Charlotte Islands in Canada. Along the way, we stumbled across many people from Hawaii who enjoyed the salmon and halibut fishing as much as we did. Conversations at the airports with some local people about “da one dat got away” was the key to finding a couple of locals who own and operate fishing lodges in Alaska . Two of my favorites are Shelter Lodge on Shelter Island and El Capitan Lodge on Prince of Wales Island.
Shelter Island lodge is a short 20 minute boat ride from Juneau, Alaska . The friendly staff, mostly from Hawaii, meets all of the guests (16 per week) at the Juneau airport. A shuttle bus transports the guests to the Auke Bay Marina where you load the boats that transport the guests and supplies to Shelter Island. Along the way to the marina, the shuttle bus stops at the local Safeway and liquor store so that guests can stock up on their favorite snacks and beverages for the duration of their stay.
This year, we invited my cousin Ellen to join us. She was a little hesitant as she has never fished but she agreed to come along. This was truly going to be a unique experience for her, an opportunity to see all that Alaska the last frontier would have to offer.
When the boats arrive at Shelter Island, Jackie and Richard Yamada the owners and operators of the lodge meet and greet all of the visitors for the week. Richard Yamada is originally from Hawaii, moved to Alaska in 1972 and opened Shelter Lodge in 1982. His wife Jackie is from California and moved to Alaska to work in the fishing lodge industry in 1988. Jackie and Richard have created a great feeling of the “Aloha Spirit” in Shelter Lodge which is felt as soon as you arrive. It is not surprising that 80% of the guests are from Hawaii or have close ties to Hawaii. When I asked Jackie what she enjoys most about her job, she replied “the people, it’s all about the people”.
After the fishing licenses and rain gear are distributed, dinner is served with a summation of details for the rest of your stay. The dinners are prepared by local chefs and highlight the Alaska sea fare. This year, Chef Jim, a graduate from Punahou, took the summer off from his real job on the cruise ships to hang out with the locals and immediately felt like he was back home, being surrounded by so many da kine.
The next four days would be nothing but fishing and enjoying the vast wilderness, returning to the lodge at the end of the fishing day and enjoying the local fare prepared with island flair.
The fishing day begins with breakfast served to the guests while the boats are prepared for fishing. The guests are transported to the fishing boats and the boats head out to the fishing grounds. Travel time to the grounds allow the anglers to take in the vastness of Alaska . It is common to witness bald eagles swooping down for a meal, sea lions basking in the sun or Humpback whales breaching or bubble feeding. The same humpback whales I watched breaching in the waters off Hawaii migrate to Alaska to feed and get fat for the winters. Witnessing the wonders of nature is always worth the price of admission.
Our group targeted two types of fish this year: King Salmon and Halibut and everything else would be gravy. The best method for fishing salmon in the glacier fed waters is by trolling with downriggers, flashers and artificial squid lures called “hoochies” or the favorite of salmon and whales in the area “herring”. Fishermen take turns fighting the fish that bite and the day is over when limits are caught or time is up. Then the boats head back to Shelter Lodge where the captains assist the other lodge employees in dressing out the catch and vacuum sealing and freezing for transport. The catches for the day are prominently displayed for the Kodak moment as well as the online photo album. The rest of the evening is spent hanging out with the other guests, more fishing off of the spit, singing karaoke or watching a DVD movie in the guest lounge.
The last day of fishing is always the worst day as you come to the realization that the trip is almost over. But how did we do as far as catching?
Our group limited every day on Halibut. We caught some Silver Salmon, Chums and Sockeye. The elusive King Salmon was exactly that elusive. The only King caught by our group was landed by the beginner. Cousin Ellen caught an 18lb King Salmon. You know what they say about beginners luck, it is true! Total poundage brought home was approximately 100 lbs of vacuum sealed salmon and halibut per angler, just enough to feed us until next year.
El Capitan Lodge is located off of Ketchikan, Alaska. The lodge is further out in the Sea Otter Sound and reached via a float plane departing from Ketchikan. The owners/operators of El Cap are Nani and Scott Van Valin. Nani is originally from the Big Island as are the majority of the staff. The “Aloha Spirit” is alive and well in the Prince of Wales Islands. Since the lodge is situated in Sea Otter sound, the preferred method of fishing these waters is mooching with a cut plug herring while slow trolling. Each angler is responsible for their own pole and their own catch. Of course all fish should be divided amongst your groups as some will catch more than others. Is there more skill required with this type of fishing? I say yes, others say no. The experienced captains utilize the latest fish-finding accessories and call out the various depths that the fish are being marked. It is up to the angler to move the bait up and down through the hot zones. This type of fishing requires more from the angler, but the strikes are definitely much harder and the fish much stronger. Your chances of landing a Tyee (King Salmon over 30lbs.) are greatly improved at this location as the salmon that are caught are coming in from the open ocean.
The cabins at El Cap sleep two comfortably and the meals served would please the pickiest of palates. Maximum number of guest per week is twenty, four anglers per boat. The recent addition of an onsite massage therapist for those achy fishing muscles makes this a truly rewarding fishing adventure.
I cannot say for sure which of the two lodges would be my favorite as they both offer a different fishing experience. But I will say this, I got my first Tyee at El Cap and it tipped the scales at 52 lbs. That’s a lot of sashimi.
The local area fishing has been spotty with a slow Silver Salmon run, but as of October 1, 2005 the Blackmouth season is now open. So get out there and hang on to the big one.
When visiting lodges run by Hawai`i transplants, don’t forget to say Sonny sent you. You may get a kama`aina rate (or get charged double)!
Sonny Bristol grew up on O`ahu and graduated from Damien HS and Gonzaga U. He’s a realtor in Seattle and an avid fisherman. For more info regarding fishing in Alaska or Puget Sound, contact Sonny at www.sonnybristol.com
Honolulu Theatre for Youth’s Nothing is the Same Comes to Seattle Children’s Theatre
Nothing is the Same by acclaimed local playwright Y York played in Honolulu during the month of September and will be at the Seattle Children’s Theatre in Seattle, Washington from Oct. 7th to Dec. 3rd.
Written as a culmination of various grants to Honolulu Theatre for Youth (HTY) “ December 7, 1941 Project,” the story comes from an oral history project that began in O`ahu’s Wahiawā Elementary School when elders of the community were interviewed by students who then created their own plays. The final outcome, Nothing is the Same, is about four children in Hawai`i whose lives are forever changed with the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor . The four 11-year-olds, Korean-, Filipino- and Japanese-Americans are thrust one morning from the innocence of a Wahiawā churchyard marble game to the terrifying reality of planes overhead, tear gas and ethnic internment.
The Seattle production is directed by Mark Lutwat, until recently HTY’s artistic director, and uses the same four actors from HTY who deliver the play in Hawaiian Pidgin.
Nothing is the Same is recommended for ages 8 and up. For information for public performances, call (206) 442-3322 or visit www.sct.org. For school morning performances, call 206) 443-0807.
Outreach Regional Coordinators Named for Kau Inoa
By Rochelle delaCruz
Nearly two years ago, a group of Hawaiians who gathered to discuss self-determination agreed that the first step in this process was to identify Hawaiians, and so began Kau Inoa – to place your name. To sign up, Hawaiians must present a birth certificate or proof that they are registered with the Department of Hawaiian Homes Lands, on the Hawaiian Registry or in Operation `Ohana. Those who are registered through Kau Inoa will then be able to participate in the formation of the new Hawaiian government.
Because of its resources, the State of Hawaii’s Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) helps facilitate Kau Inoa, but it does not collect the information. This is done by Hawai`i Maoli, a non-profit entity of the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs, who cannot release any information without the permission of the registrant nor give the information to OHA.
In October 2005, OHA named six regional recruiters on the continent as Kau Inoa Outreach Coordinators: Sharon Ku`uipo Paulo for Southern California; Hanalei Aipoalani for Northern California; Lehua Vincent for Nevada; Regina Lynn Moses Mahiai-Hess for Oregon; Chester Mahelona for Texas and Danny Kaopuiki for Washington.
Sharon Ku`uipo Paulo is from Nanakuli, currently works for the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Commission and is president of the Hawaiian Community Center Association in California. Hanalei Aipoalani also grew up in Nanakuli and provides testimony to Congress on Pacific Island initiatives. Lehua Vincent is from Kailua, O`ahu, resides in Las Vegas , Nevada and is the president of the Las Vegas Hawaiian Civic Club. Regina Lynn Moses Mahiai-Hess was born in Kailua, O`ahu and heads the Halau Hula `O Mahiai in Milwaukie , Oregon . Chester Mahelona is also from O`ahu but retired from the US Armed Forces Exchange System and lives in Dallas, Texas. Danny Kaopuiki from Lana`i, a board member of the Kamehameha Schools Alumni Association- Northwest Region and the Wakinikona Hawaiian Club, lives in Seattle, Washington and writes for the Northwest Hawai`i Times. Hanalei Aipoalani from Northern California was unable to attend the training session.
After a three-day training session in Honolulu, the coordinators are developing plans and programs for informing, educating and encouraging Native Hawaiians in their respective areas to sign up on the Kau Inoa registry. According to the 2000 census, there are approximately 400,000 Native Hawaiians in the United States and 175,000 live outside of Hawai`i. There are an estimated 15,000 in Washington and 6,000 in Oregon. OHA believes that having in-state coordinators is the most effective way to reach Hawaiians who live outside of Hawai`i and is offering a small grants program which will enable individual groups such as Hawaiian civic clubs, canoe and hula hālau to earn money by helping with Kau Inoa signup efforts. Speaking in Seattle recently, Aulani Apoliona, OHA’s Kau Inoa Outreach Program manager, urged all off-island Hawaiians to register. “Perhaps you have no plans to return to Hawai`i,” she said. “But let’s keep that door open for your children and grandchildren, who may want to someday.”
Asian Pacific Islander Community Leadership Foundation to Graduate Next Generation of Community Leaders
By Dawn Rego
On November 10, 2005 the Asian Pacific Islander Leadership Foundation (ACLF) will graduate their next class of community leaders including two local boys who were born and raised in Hawai`i.
ACLF was founded in 1998 to address a growing concern in the Asian Pacific Islander (API) community to nurture and train future leaders to ensure that the API voice was being heard. The purpose of the Foundation is to provide an environment that fosters the development of individual leadership, community strength and inter-community unity to promote issues critical to Asian Pacific Islanders. To achieve this, the Foundation developed the Community Leaders Program—an intensive six month program focused on leadership development, personal empowerment, community organizing and coalition building. The class meets bi-monthly for a variety of workshops, each participant is paired with a mentor and also completes a community project that provides assistance to community organization.
The 2005 class is composed of 15 members who are Megan Asaka, Cynthia Brothers, Jennifer Brower, Casey Bui, Debadatta Dash, Ellen Ngo, Anthony Perez, Uma Rao, Christie Verdadero, Alan Vu, Kil Ye Winans, Candice Wong, Kendee Yamaguchi, and the local boys, Joshua Heim and Patrick Soon.
Joshua Heim was born and raised in Hawai`i and graduates from Lewis and Clark College in Portland , Oregon. He is currently the Center Coordinator for the National Resource Center, a joint project of the MAVIN Foundation and the Association of MultiEthnic Americans (AMEA). Joshua was an AmeriCorps advocate, associate managing editor for Ka Ho`olina: Journal of Hawaii Language Sources, an elementary school teacher, a cultural competency training coordinator and enjoys practicing hula in his spare time.
Patrick Soon was born and raised in Aiea, O`ahu and is a graduate of Damien High School. He went to college on the mainland and currently works in the public mental health system. When asked how the Community Leaders Program has impacted his thoughts and views of API issues, Patrick states “…that the views and perspectives of the API community in Seattle and for most of the mainland is on Asian issues but with very little attention to Pacific Islander issues…I think that the API community, in general, needs to put attention on Pacific Islanders and their issues and experiences.”
For Joshua and Patrick, this year’s community project hit a little closer to home because it involved working with PASEFIKA, a Pacific Islander community organization based in the White Center to provide assistance to their youth and elders program. “I was really happy that this year for our group project was to work with PASEFIKA…I think that it was a very powerful step for ACLF to reach out to the Pacific American community” states Patrick.
Please join Joshua and Patrick as the API community celebrates the graduation of these 15 emerging leaders on November 10, 2005 at the Hilton Seattle. The evening will be festive and celebrate the accomplishments during the six month program. To register online for this event, please visit http://www.aclfnorthwest.org/register or RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-625-3850. If you are interested in learning more about the ACLF Community Leaders Program and want to make a difference in the Asian Pacific Islander community, please visit www.aclfnorthwest.org or call 206-625-3850. Applications for the 2006 Community Leaders Program will be available in November with the program beginning in spring 2006.
Dawn Rego was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii and is a graduate of the Kamehameha Schools and the University of Puget Sound. She is also a 2004 graduate of the ACLF Community Leaders Program and is active in the Asian Pacific Islander Community.
THE MOLOKA`I HOE
Federal Way, Washington canoe club Kīkaha O Ke Kai just returned from Hawai`i where they paddled in the54th annual Moloka`i Hoe, a 41-mile race from Moloka`i to O`ahu across the Kaiwi Channel, considered to be the world championship of long-distance outrigger canoe paddling. Below is a first-hand account of this memorable experience.
Kīkaha O Ke Kai was organized as a canoe club in Washington State in 1996. George Keoki Willis was one of the founders and with William Shilling and Barry Tam-Hoy was one of Kīkaha’s lifetime directors. Uncle Keoki was a proud Hawaiian who wore the Hawaiian flag on his back like a cape and will be remembered by the outrigger community as the Hawaiian Superman.
Kīkaha paddlers compete as a club and as individuals. We have participated in races from Bellingham to the Columbia River Gorge, the Tri-Cities, the Oregon Coast and down to California. We placed second in the 2003 master division in the 34-mile Catalina to Newport Beach Race and paddled in the 15-mile Tahoe Iron Race. We’ve gone to the World Sprints in Fiji , Tahiti , Hilo and now Moloka`i. The next big race will be in New Zealand in 2006.
Training grounds to cross the Moloka`i Channel, would be the Moloka`i Channel. Up here in Washington, there is no place to compare to Kaiwi. Our waters are just too different and there are no ocean swells or sets of waves to catch. Windy or bad weather days would be our best time to train, but sloppy, choppy water ain’t fun to practice in either. And practicing here in those conditions is dangerous because of hypothermia waters.
The Moloka`i Hoe is the Superbowl of races for paddlers. We’re competing with the top. Only in our dreams can we win this race and we knew we weren’t going to come in top ten or twenty. A more realistic goal was to finish an hou r b ehind the first-place winners or cross the Kaiwi Channel under 6 hours. Neither one happened! Out of 107 canoes, only 17 made it under 6 hours. The winning crew Lanikai crossed in 5 hours 17minutes. We placed 93 rd overall.
Our goal was not only to race the Moloka`i Hoe but to complete the whole course with all nine of us finishing together, as this was the first race together for everyone on our crew. We all knew it was going to be hard and tough but didn’t know it was going to be twice that. Even the veterans and top paddlers said that the race conditions were harder and times were longer. The race was already challenging but due to a mixup with the car rental, our luggage didn’t get to the escort boat so we were without all our food: carbs, protein, energy bars and recovery drinks. Then during rotation, two of the zippers on the canvas broke. In rough waters, the canvas goes over the top of the canoe to prevent water from coming into the canoe and the zippers are the final seal that keeps all the water out. S o water started pouring in and someone always had to be bailing water out of the canoe. The winds were high, currents were going in different directions and tides were dropping fast. Even the top crews could not catch any waves in open ocean. The swells and waves were relentless and we were getting pounded from every angle. But every paddler knew his job so we paddled hard and our amazing steersman John Richardson kept the canoe upright the whole race. But physically we started to break down. Not having our energy source made us feel weak and sick, and cramping started with some of the paddlers. But most of us have been paddling together for over 7 years and weren’t about to let each other down. I told my guys that it didn’t matter how long it took for us to cross the channel or where we placed overall. The most important thing is that we never fell apart as a team. We roughed it out and paddled our hearts. Regardless of the obstacles we encountered, we fought hard, did ou r b est and survived it. My men paddled bravely and I am very proud of all of them!
It sure was a lifetime experience for all of us. The one thing I will remember from the Moloka`i Hoe is how big and fast the ocean moves out there. Respect the sea – it is very alive!
Gordon Martinez is Men’s coach for Kīkaha. What he didn’t tell us in his story is that most of his team are over 40 years old and could have raced in the masters 40-over division. But they would have had to recruit a few non club members in order to comprise the team, so they went with all Kīkaha members and entered the open division, borrowing a canoe from O`ahu-based Koa Kai. Kīkaha O Ke Kai is a non-profit organization currently raising funds to buy a desperately-needed new canoe. Visit their website at: www.kikaha.com.
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