Crew Profile

Kealohi Sabate




Moananuiākea Voyage – Leg 9: Ventura to San Diego


Kealohi was a student at Kamehameha Schools when she first sailed on a waʻa kaulua, but she wasnʻt in Hawaiʻi. She was on a school field trip to Aotearoa in 2015, when Hōkūleʻa was there for the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage. She started volunteering with PVS in 2020 and says that “illustrated how distant my connection has become to my culture and has sparked my desire to strengthen these traditional practices as a conservation scientist.”

Kealohi is now a PhD student in Environmental Engineering who wants to “foster solutions through modern technology and an indigenous perspective for a healthier future.” She says “Hōkūleʻa has shown me the importance of science and culture as it relates to traditional navigation, which can be used as a tool to revitalize cultural identity, restore our connection to place, and foster relationships around the world to initiate change to better our environment.”

Kealohi says a “disconnect has led to so much destruction in our environment,” so she hopes “that voyaging can help inspire and motivate more people to become more connected and conscious of nature.”

Kealohi knows that when sheʻs at sea it's her sweet tooth that will suffer: “Iʻm a sucker for anything sweet at all times of the day and night.” But when back on land, what she misses about being at sea runs far deeper: “It's just such a different feeling being so present and attentive to everything thatʻs happening around me and seeing things I wouldnʻt normally see is what I really miss.” She adds that “On the waʻa you leave everything modern behind which sort of takes away that work stress since you are fully immersed in nature, but then there's that extra factor where you are now at the mercy of nature that makes it a bit scary and invigorating at the same time.”