I have written this article after 2010 Na Wahine O Ke Kai race. It was sent to a local military publication, but it did not get published. Because it was intended for military publication, you will notice the formal titles and ranks of the paddlers in the article. I am just keeping the article as is with all the ranks and titles, since our military affiliation is one of the distinct identities of Honolulu Pearl. The article was getting dusted in my Google docs and I thought it will be put in better use, if I finally share it.
What is up with the title?
LoL. I expected you ask that.
Dhoom Machale is a phrase in Hindi language (one of the languages spoken in India). It loosely means “Let’s Rock!” in English. I heard about it in a Bollywood movie Dhoom 2. They were dancing to a song with the same name “Dhoom Machale“. I love Indian music, especially the modernized versions. The cast danced to the music in a crazy fast pace. It just reminded me the Hon Pearl ladies. If you ever get the pleasure of paddling in a 6-man outrigger canoe as the only man with 5 other Hon Pearl ladies, you will understand what I mean. Just try to keep up with the pace, and see what happens. So, I though it would be proper to name the article with the song’s name.
Actually I though about naming the article with another song “Crazy Kiya Re“. But I may get in trouble for that one. So maybe we just keep that one for another article.
BTW – The song names above are actual links to the YouTube video clips. Have fun!
Who is that guy in the video clips?
I though you would ask that too. His name is Hrithik Roshan, the Indian actor from the movie. I hear women find him cute. Ok, ok … “HOT !”. So enjoy it! And please Dhoom Machale in 2011 again.
On September 26th Sunday, 2010
, Honolulu Pearl canoe club women’s team competed in Na Wahine O Ke Kai (Women of the Sea). The race started at Molokai and ended at Waikiki Beach after 42 miles. This year 82 teams from US Mainland, Hawaii, Tahiti, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand participated in the race.
Ten crew members who paddled in the race were Captain Tracy Sampson, Marine Corps; MSgt. Elizabeth Sabog, Hawaii Air National Guard; Senior Airmen Emily Huggins, US Air Force; Megan Broadway, Chantel Ching, Kim Hasegawa, Charissa Ono, Kim Falinski (Jersey), Maxine Mendes and Elizabeth Cawrey.
All 10 crew members crossed the Kaiwi Channel first time. Molokai race is a very significant event and in the international paddling community, the number of times a paddler’s crossing the channel is an indication of experience.
“There are several teams compete for the top positions every year. For many other teams the success is finishing the race safely.” said coach Tammy Dureg. “It is not uncommon to see teams fail mid way. Sometimes several canoes end up getting towed back to shore. Our team actually did really good. I am very proud” she added.
The team had some thrilling and funny moments in between islands. “If there were a category for teams that had the most fun and thrill, we definitely would be the first place.” said Maxine.
One of those thrilling events happened at a water change. At water changes, 3 paddlers jump off the escort boat to replace 3 other paddlers in the canoe. That way paddlers can take a 20 minute break before they get back to paddling again. “Coach called a water change, and I jumped off the boat as usual. Next thing I know is everybody was yelling at me to watch out and get back on the boat quick. I was the only one in the water. I was confused. Then I started to think all the things that can be in deep ocean. I don’t want to name it, but starts with letters ‘sh’ ” said Chantel.
“I called for the change. Then at the last second I noticed it. I said oh my, it is not safe to put the paddlers in the water now. I called to abort the change.” Said coach Tammy. But it was too late and Chantel was already in the water.
After some turmoil, ladies quickly pulled Chantel back to boat with no harm. Later on, Harvey Huckso, who was helping with logistics, explained: “We have seen it the previous day when we were taking the escort boat to Molokai. I though it would have been gone already on the race day, but it was still there. A big ship must have dumped its entire waste tank. It was bad. The stuff you don’t want to be in.”
Two teams paddle fiercely for the finish line
Chantel continued “I got back on the escort boat. The other ladies insisted that I took a good shower before joining them back”. Luckily the team had one of the bigger escort boats with fresh water tank and a shower. After the race the team had a big lough over the incidence.
There was another close call at another water change. “After a change, we were swimming back to the boat. Then theycalled for heads up. When I turned back, I saw another team’s canoe rushing towards us. We yelled and waved. But Chantel got stuck in the front. She got hit on the head and then she went under.” said Liz Cawrey.
“I tried to swim away, but wasn’t fast enough. The front of the canoe hit my head. I dived down to protect myself. When I thought I was clear I went up. Then got hit again. By a paddle this time.” Chantel added. “Luckily I did not get hurt and could continue.”
Almost at 7 hour point when the team was finally across Diamond Head, it happened. The canoe swung around and hulied. Huli is the local term for capsize. Although the outrigger stabilizes the canoe, it still can capsize in choppy water. “We do regular huli drills, so paddlers can recover as fast as possible and continue with the race.” Tammy explained.
Msgt. Sabog giving final directives
MSgt. Sabog was in the canoe when it capsized. “We did not expect to huli. We were so tired. Recovery was taking a little longer than I thought it should. I felt like I needed to take charge. In a loud, and firm manner, and as kindly as the conditions permit, I reminded the ladies that we needed to move faster. They quickly agreed.” said Sabog.
“I heard Liz yelling, and I said ‘oh boy!’. But that is what you need sometimes.” said Tammy. And it worked. Paddlersquickly turned the canoe up, bailed the water, and continued with the race.
Senior Airmen Emily Huggins
After 7 hours 38 minutes and a huli, the team passed the finish line. “I am hurting all over. But I am very relaxed now since it is over. I am ready for a celebration.” said Kim, when asked how she was feeling at the end. Team spent the rest of the day together celebrating their achievement.