Oh we’re going to a hukilau…the words of a famous song known worldwide referring to the beautiful white sand beaches of La’ie bay.  This is where I grew up learning the skills of swimming, body surfing, surfing, fishing, diving and the joys of sharing Aloha.

It was in the early 60’s as a young “La’ie boy” that I experienced pulling, alongside the tourists, the fishing nets of the “hukilau”.  It was such a fun thing to do every Saturday morning.  The all seeing, and all skilled eyes of the lead fishermen, were the spotters of the schools of fish.  They would give the signal to start the dropping of the nets which would create a huge half-moon shape starting from the shore encircling the school of fish and make their way back to the shore.  The lead Fishermen at the time were Bob Kahawai, Unko 5cen, George Nihipali, and of course the Unkos who made their homes there on the beach of La’ie bay, unko Manauela, unko Doc Aupukehau, and my unko Usi, the brother of my grandmother Sarah Mamane Keawemauhili.

When the nets were ready and everyone including the tourist were set to pull the nets in, there would be a sense of anxiety amongst the crowd all in wonder as to what the catch would produce.  As the bag finally came upon the beach, the wows and oohs echoed through the crowd with the amazement of the many varieties of fish that were caught as well as the quantities.  Just another memorable day of Hukilau in old La’ie bay…

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Written by Walter Wong, Jr

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