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Hawai‘i has been lending its mystique to the bikini for sixty years
Vol. 8, No. 6
December 2005/January 2006

  >>   The Bold and the Beautiful
  >>   Women of the Canoe
  >>   The Motorcycle Diaries

Women of the Canoe (Page 5)

The first lesson Shantell learned at sea was to trust her instincts. “The navigator serves as the eyes of the canoe. Your kuleana is to find your destination. But my personality is I’m so precise,” she begins. “On our first night at sea, it was so stormy, and the clouds were so thick that I couldn’t see one star. I began pacing on the deck, and I remember thinking, ‘Just show me one.’ [Veteran navigator] Bruce Blankenfeld could sense my anxiety. So he asked me, ‘Where’s the moon?’ I thought it was a trick question. ‘Is it on the right side or the left side?’ he asked. So I pointed to it on the right. And I finally realized what he was trying to show me: As long as I kept the moon on the right side of the canoe for a period of time, we were heading home.

“It was a very simple lesson in a very few words,” Shantell continues. “What it taught me was to keep it simple. Don't try to take your land traits to sea. On land you always want to be in control. You'll only get frustrated. When the clues aren't there, make the best of it. When they do appear, you can always reorient yourself.”

Shantell’s devotion to the canoe is, she says, driven by purpose, pride and destiny. “What I’m doing is what I ought to have done,” Shantell reflects. “You only know who you are by knowing where you came from.”

Signs of a higher power reveal themselves to the crewmembers regularly at sea. Catherine describes the dolphins that came at night, swimming through glowing plankton that traced their wake trails in the water “as if they were taking us somewhere.”

“The canoe knows where it has to go,” she adds. Shantell echoes that mystical notion, saying, “The canoe goes where it wants to go. It definitely has its own mana.”