Outrig­gers add Hawai­ian touch with boat bless­ings

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - SPORT - RICHARD KOSER

KANALOA, the Hawai­ian god of the sea, smiled on the Port Dou­glas Outrig­ger Ca­noe Club on Sun­day.

A sunny sky and calm seas greeted the pad­dlers as they headed out of Dick­son In­let and around to Four Mile Beach to of­fi­cially name the club’s four ca­noes.

A crowd of in­ter­ested lo­cals and tourists watched as wreaths were laid in the sea and bless­ings spo­ken over the ca­noes on a post­card-per­fect morn­ing.

The club used a cos­mopoli­tan mix­ture of lan­guages to of­fi­cially name their craft.

“It’s tra­di­tional to use sea-salt for pu­rifi­ca­tion,” said Wendy Mor­ris, who led the cer­e­mony.

“We used the salt to pu­rify our­selves and the ca­noes, said a prayer in Hawai­ian, then we named the ca­noes and spread the salt and fresh sea-wa­ter from a baler shell.”

The grand dame of the fleet will now be known as Irene in hon­our of the club’s founder Irene Denholm.

The two newer six-seater ca­noes have been given Hawai­ian names, Nalu or “ocean waves” and Ali’i kai, “ruler of the sea”.

The small­est ca­noe, a two-seater, was named Jalun, the Kuku Yalanji word for sea.

“Com­ing up with the names was a joint ef­fort re­ally,” Ms Mor­ris said.

“We wanted to recog­nise Irene for her huge con­tri­bu­tion to pad­dling in the north.”

Al­though the ca­noes have all seen ser­vice in outrig­ger car­ni­vals and as train­ing boats for years, the club had never got around to nam­ing them be­fore.

Ms Mor­ris said it was pos­si­ble the ca­noes would go faster in the club’s next re­gatta in In­n­is­fail start­ing Au­gust 28.

“Maybe we will go faster,” Ms Mor­ris said. “Pad­dling is a very spir­i­tual sport. “Each per­son brings their own en­ergy, their mana, to the ca­noe, but there is a sev­enth mana, that of the ca­noe.

“When a team man­ages to reach that in­cred­i­ble one­ness, with each other and the ca­noe, and that’s when you hear the ca­noe sing and you can har­ness the mana of the ocean, the eighth mana.”

Any­one in­ter­ested in join­ing the pad­dling club can come along to ba­sic train­ing at 5.15pm on Mon­days at the club­house next door to the Port Dou­glas Yacht Club.

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