Voyager and cowboy experienced 'a full life'


POSTED: Tuesday, October 28, 2008
This story has been corrected. See below.


Although Sam Kalalau Jr. was 53, he was an obvious choice to be part of the crew of the double-hulled sailing canoe Hokule'a on its historic Hawaii-Tahiti voyage in 1976, says Herb Kane, a founder of the Polynesian Voyaging Society.

“;No one could hold the steering paddle rock-steady like Sam,”; Kane said. “;He became our principal steersman and trained others. ... He was among the strongest, and the most respected for his knowledge of the sea after many years of fishing the rough waters off windward Maui.”;

“;At that time he was (in his 50s), the oldest member on the crew,”; recalled daughter Carolyn Fuhrmann.

Kalalau died last Tuesday at his home in Hana, Maui. He was 85.

The Hawaii-Tahiti voyage, done through Pacific way-finding and without Western navigational instruments, supported the assertion that Polynesians were capable of charting courses and traveling thousands of miles to settle in Hawaii.

Kalalau was a fisherman and also a cowboy who trained wild horses at $25 a mount for Hana Ranch. Fuhrmann said her father, who retired as a field hand boss for Hana Ranch, went fishing and hunting often to provide food for his family:

» His hunting dogs would corner a wild pig, and he would use his bayonet to kill it.

» He taught his children how to find fish and octopus by spitting chewed coconut juice on the ocean to create a kind of oily-looking glass so he could spot the sea life.

“;The old Hawaiians taught him to do this,”; she said.

Fuhrmann said her father died with a large smile on his face.

“;He said, 'I'm ready to go. What I wanted to do, I did. I've lived a full life.'”;

A funeral service is scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday at the veterans memorial at Hana Bay, followed by the scattering of ashes aboard the Hokule'a, whose crew will be sailing from Oahu to Maui.

Besides Fuhrmann, he is survived by daughter Mona Lisa Kalalau, sons Sam Kalalau III and Howard Manaois, brothers Ellsworth and Stanley, sister Beauty Costello, 29 grandchildren and 30 great-grandchildren.








Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Sam Kalalau Jr. was 53 when he was a crewmember on the Hokule'a's maiden voyage to Tahiti in 1976. Originally, this article incorrectly stated he was 50.