Nā Kai ‘Ewalu

Nā Kai ‘Ewalu is a poetic reference to the ocean that connects our state’s eight major islands. From Kumukahi on the island of Hawai‘i, to Ni‘ihau and Lehua in the west, these ocean passages define our Polynesian waters and navigation.

Navigating Hawaiian Waters

For thousands of years, Polynesians mastered the art and science of traditional navigation techniques to voyage across vast, uncharted seas. Guided by their knowledge and observations of waves, currents, wind, sun, moon, stars, birds and fish, navigators relied on their intuition and deep-rooted connection to the natural environment.

From master to apprentice, traditional navigation techniques were shared by oral tradition often in the form of mele (songs) to memorize the properties of stars, islands, and routes. On the verge of facing cultural extinction, Mau Piailug was instrumental in reviving our wayfinding heritage by leading the Hōkūle‘a’s maiden voyage to Tahiti in 1976 without any modern instruments. From that day forward, his teachings awakened an appreciation and spirit for the perpetuation of Polynesian voyaging.

For 118 years, Young Brothers has been navigating Hawaiian waters and today is the state’s primary interisland shipping service. The company’s commitment to safety, reliability, efficiency and the community are made evident by Young Brothers’ employees, its vessels and other equipment in which the company invests.

In this year’s tide calendar, we highlight the skill and innovation of Young Brothers’ navigators and the Hawaiian waters through which they traverse. Experience Young Brothers’ fleet through the eyes of our trusted kāpena (captain) and celebrate the unveiling of four new tugs named after former Young Brothers’ captains. Come ho‘okele (sail) with us as we showcase Hawai‘i’s natural beauty in and out of the water.

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