2019 Scholarship Recipient

“Navigating and being out in the deep ocean is very centering.  Out there we are connected to each other and to the ocean.  It's a reassuring feeling.”

Christopher "Kalani" Asano, kama'aina to the islands of Kaua'i and 'Oahu has always been near the water from a very young age.  "The ocean is where we connected with family."  Family near and far, here with us or moved on, the ocean is where they all connected again.  Stories of his great-grandfather who would "kilo" or scout from afar would help fishermen locate and catch fish, demonstrated that this intimate connection is more than "a day at the beach".  Whether surfing, fishing, or diving, the stories of people and place connects Kalani to the ocean.

In the fall of 2018, while taking classes at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa in ‘ike Hawai‘i and ‘olelo Hawai‘i, Kalani had his moment to reconnect with the ocean.  Through the university programs, he was able to intersect with the voyaging canoes Hokule‘a, Hikianalia, and Makali‘i, along with Kanehunamoku Voyaging Academy.  Kalani now had a chance to sail with the crew of Hikianalia to San Francisco.  Seeing a future that involved the ocean, the final push came from Uncle Kimo Lyman.  Kalani listened to stories about Uncle Kimo’s brother, David Lyman, as a harbor pilot.  This ignited a spark within, “When I get to San Francisco, I’m doing this.”

We celebrate Kalani’s senior semester at Cal Maritime Academy.  Having finished his Senior Training Cruise aboard the Golden Bear, his 65-day cruise was practice and training for his 3rd Mate certification.   When asked about his time at sea on the Golden Bear, was there a space for native practices of navigating, like Papa Kilo Hoku, to merge with the technologies aboard the vessel?  “Absolutely.  It’s comforting to know that I can double check measurements made with the sextant with the traditional skills I used on the canoe.  These skills are alive, well, and strong today, even if we’re surrounded with machines and computers.”  Eyes fixed on the horizons ahead, Kalani will graduate from Cal Maritime Academy in December of 2022, and will have his 3rd Mates Unlimited License in hand January 2023.  We give a “hulo hulo” to his achievements and proud to see this kanaka find his way to merge native intelligence with modern times on the ocean.  “I am forever grateful and indebted to the Mana'o Nui ohana for their support in my future maritime career.”