“Hut! Ho! Hut! Ho!” calls Miri from the stern. I follow the calls and start matching strokes with the woman two seats ahead and switching sides without hitting the canoe. We head toward a sailboat, circle it and head back toward shore; Hilo looks gorgeous. But I’m also feeling the workout in my shoulders and wonder whether I’ll be able to use my arms tomorrow. “You guys don’t ever have trouble lifting your carry-on into the overhead compartment, do you?” I ask. They laugh and say almost in unison, “No.” Every WOW member says she’ll continue paddling until she drops dead or until “they pry the paddle out of my hand,” as one member put it.
These oldest members of the Keaukaha Canoe Club try to set an example for the other members, some as young as 8. “We are their aunties, their kupuna,” says Momi. “We need to play nicely and show respect so they will, too. They are the ones who are going to be like us one day.”