DEPARTMENTS

Friday, May 15, 2009

Alter-Nations - Kingdom of Hawaii Part 6

WA'A PELELEU

In my research on Hawaii I found many references to the advanced war canoes that Kamehameha had commissioned for his invasion of the other Hawaiian islands. These vessels are unique in that they combined both traditional Hawaiian canoe building techniques with western naval engineering.

These double hulled war vessels averaged 70 feet in length, were lashed onto curved cross members (a uniquely Hawaiian feature) and had a swivel gun (some pictures show two) was mounted on the bows! The hulls were carved from gigantic koa tress while the sails were cut in the square European mode, but made of traditional plaited Elauhala‚ (pandanas leaf) matting.I have never been able to find out just how many people one of these carried but considering that a fleet of 800 carried Kamehameha's 10,000 warriors it can be assumed that their crew capacity is considerable though I am sure there were many other lesser Hawaiian canoes and traditional war canoes along on that invasion as well.

Personally, I think these are beautiful vessels and I can see my fictional Hawaii still using them close to home where natives could use the skills of their upbringing patrolling the coasts and keeping the peace, even as more modern vessels were coming and going from their islands.

A really cool boat,

-Eli

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