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Iosepa to the rescue

Iosepa crew rescues a capsized boat near Kahana Bay

A drone footage of Iosepa, a traditional Hawaiian canoe
A drone footage of Iosepa, a traditional Hawaiian canoe
Photo by Courtesy of Polynesian Cultural Center

Right before reaching Heeai Kea, the Iosepa canoe came across a capsized boat with three passengers holding onto the top of it, said Mahina Okimoto, one of Iosepa’s crew members from Laie.

“Iosepa came just in time. There weren’t any other boats in the vicinity, so had we not been there, they probably would have drifted in, hit the reef and gotten into a lot more struggle,” said Michael Horito, another Iosepa crew member from Hau’ula.

During the rescue, Horito said the Iosepa and the escorting boat connected a robe and threw it into the water for the boat passengers
to hold on to and get out. He added, “I was only making sure I was doing whatever was assigned to us while saving them. We also needed to make sure the Iosepa stayed safe.”

Horito added, “I heard [the people on the boat] were at the fishing tournament. They were working on the nets at the back of their boat [when] a large wave came and flipped it over. [They] didn’t have enough time to react. They had a radio, but it was ruined underneath [the water].”

Okimoto said not long after navigating the canoe from the calm water of Haleiwa toward Heeia, the weather turned cold. She explained the waves turned rough around Kahuku Point as the strong wind hit the ocean.” Iosepa was rocking up and down [causing] half of our crew members to get sick and throw up, but we still persevered and held our course,” she said. Five minutes after breaking through the rough waves, she said Iosepa encountered the capsized boat.

Kahia Walker, Iosepa’s quarter master from Hau’ula, said the boat was drifting in the ocean for a long time. “It’s about a mile from the shore, far enough for people to notice.”

“When the canoe is put in a museum, people tend to think it is only a past artifact. But when it sails, it has the power to save, the same as Iosepa,” he added. He took this accident as an example of a living gospel. “Iosepa needed to be in the water. Had it not been in the water, it wouldn’t have rescued the life that needed to be rescued,” he said. If the members of the Church are not ready to embark on the journey to share the gospel, the people around them will fail to receive the blessings that are in store for them, said Walker.