Monday, August 29, 2016

Living Spiritual Temple-Mo'o'kini Heiau

Mo’okini Heiau sits high on a knoll and enjoys a panoramic view of the Upolu Point of Kohala and the distant shores of Maui. It stands in the center of a once-royal complex that was a vital center of sacred and secular power. It is one of the first luakini heiau (temple of human sacrifice) built by the Tahitian Priest Paao in the 12th century. Legend has it that it was the site of countless thousands of human sacrifices to the gods. The current site includes remains of the sacrificial temple measuring 250' x 130' with an open stone paved court enclosed by 20-foot-high stone walls and the sacrificial stone. According to oral tradition it was built in one night by 15-20,000 men passing stones to one another from the Niuli’i, nine miles away.

The Tahitians believed that there was not enough respect on the part of resident Hawaiians for the gods, and they set out to strengthen the kapu system by building this temple and enforcing the strict laws of the land (kapu). Paao summoned the warrior chief Pili who brought stones from one of the most sacred sacrificial temples in Tahiti and placed the bodies of fresh victims beneath these stones used as pillars to consecrate Mo’okini Heiau. Mu, or body catchers, collected the humans to be sacrificed. These were most often conquered warriors or members of the slave class. Women and children were generally spared. The bodies of the victims were then baked and the flesh removed from the bones. The bones were used for fish hooks or parts for weapons.
The oldest, largest, and most sacred heiau in old Hawaii is all that remains of the royal Kohala complex dismantled by sugar plantation owners in the 19th century. To Hawaiians it is a living spiritual temple and not a cultural artifact.

It was long held to be strictly kapu to visit, but In November of 1978 Kahuna Nui Leimomi Mo'okini Lum rededicated the Mo'okini Luakini to the "Children of the Land" and lifted the restrictive Kapu. In doing this she made it safe for all persons to enter the Heiau and created a new legacy for the Mo'okini Luakini as a place of learning for future generations to discover the past. Kahuna Nui Lum followed closely the wishes of her father Kahuna Nui Dewey O. Mo'okini who visualized this sacred site as one for the children of Hawai'i and the entire world. 

Take Highway 270 north from Kawaihae. Near Mile Marker #20 turn left at the sign to Upolu Airport. Just before the airport, turn left on the unmarked dirt road and travel approximately 2 miles. The site is on hill to the left.

 Research for Wai-nani, A Voice from Old Hawai’i became a beautiful obsession that called for numerous trips to the Islands. I visited sacred sites, interviewed elders, spent nights in Waipio Valley where the bones of ancient chiefs are hidden in caves in steep walls framing the canyon.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Spotting Spouts on Dana Wharf Whale Watching Adventure

Dana Pride-Dana Wharf Whale Watch
For a day beneath tender blue skies with a teasing sea breeze rippling aquamarine waters head to Dana Point Wharf for a whale watching adventure!!
 It felt wonderful to leave the smoke-smudged skies from recent fires behind and to breathe deeply of unsullied air.  We motored through the harbor past the breakwater to a deep channel where “Red”, a humpback whale, has been feeding for that last couple of weeks.
Whale Salute-Eric Frigger
We watched him dive and flip his tail in salute before heading on to find a splashing pod of common dolphin. These guys are smaller than the bottle-nose dolphin often seen on the California coast that are about four times their size. They travel in great numbers and seemingly fly through the water at an alarming speed. Occasionally they take time to do a flip, or splash to the cheer of the guests leaning over the bow of the boat to get a good view of the action.
Common Dolphin- Dana Wharf Whale Watch

The giant blue whales run in July, but we were not lucky enough to catch sight of one. The Gray whales are seen in numbers in the winter months when they are migrating from the icy waters of Alaska to Magdalena Bay in Baja California where they give birth to their young. Common dolphin sightings are consistent all year round. Sea lions and sea faring birds are often seen on the cruise. Your Captain shares information about the creatures you see as you patrol the shimmering blue water in search of marine life..
Sea Lions-Eric Frigger
There is a galley on board if you need a burger and a libation during your voyage. Back on shore  Proud Mary’s with open patio seating overlooking  the sparkling bay offers breakfast, lunch and dinner.  
Capt. Bringing us back to Dana Pt. Marina

Sailings on the “Pride of Dana”, a luxurious catamaran with viewing decks above and enclosed dining area below, go daily from dock #1 located in the Dana Point Marina. There is plenty of free parking in the marina. During the week the crowds are light even in the heaviest tourist season. What better way to beat the heat of the long, dog days of summer?
Linda cruising on the Dana Pride

For sailing schedule and  reservations go to Dana Wharf Whale Watching

Based in Los Angeles, Adventure-travel writer, Linda Ballou, is the author of Lost Angel Walkabout-
One Traveler's Tales. Find travel articles on her site