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He seemed to have a special understanding of the ocean, as if it were a living thing and he was its favored child."He was a renaissance man, and once he got interested in the Hokule'a and the whole voyaging thing, he was driven. He had so much dedication to that, and ultimately, that may have ended up hurting him," Bettencourt said."Eddie Aikau's actions on that fateful night had the impact of helping Native Hawaiians today who care about the legacy of our culture to get over our fear and take responsibility to malama each other, even if that means paying the ultimate price.
It was such an honor to participate and an inspiration to read the hundreds and hundreds of essays submitted by 7th-10th graders.
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On March 18, 1978, a multi-day search for Aikau was launched, but he was never found.
Aikau and the crew of the voyaging canoe Hokule'a had left O'ahu in heavy winds the night of March 16, 1978.
In doing so, we will bring honor and dignity to our ancestors. And we will bring honor and dignity to the lives of our children,' " Thompson said in a 2003 interview.
Solomon and Henrietta Aikau had five sons and a daughter: Fred, Myra, Eddie, Gerald, Solomon III and Clyde. One standard was that there was no surfing until chores were done and to get them done, everyone pitched in."He is still a lifeguard, in a sense, as he has 'saved' so many young Hawaiians via inspiration to pursue a lifestyle rooted in Hawaiian culture, to get better and more in tune in our marine elements, surfing, and learning the ways of our ancestors through Hokule'a," Kahaunaele said."Just like George Helm and Kimo Mitchell, Eddie is a beacon in the storm to guide us." Aikau was 31 when he paddled into Hawaiian history that day.About 8 p.m., a Hawaiian Airlines plane bound for Honolulu from the Big Island saw a signal from the canoe and alerted authorities.All crew members, except for Aikau, were rescued by the Coast Guard.LAST DAYS MARCH 16, 1978In the late afternoon, Hokule'a left O'ahu. MARCH 17, 1978At dawn, stormy conditions continued.That night, winds in the channel between Moloka'i and O'ahu were powerful, and, as the canoe sailed southeast, the starboard hull filled with water. The crew could see Lana'i, by one estimate about 8 miles away, but the winds were pushing the canoe away from it.In recent years, the Aikau family established the Eddie Aikau Foundation ( foundation.org), "to share Eddie Aikau's life, contributions and accomplishments while promoting education and the advancement of Hawaiian culture." Hugho, who is preparing a film version of the events, called "Eddie's Final Story," said he knew their last hope was to be seen by the final Hawaiian Airlines flight from Kona to O'ahu on the night of March 17.He said he urged fellow crewman David Lyman to save some flares for when the plane passed.In the morning, crewman Eddie Aikau, famous as an ocean rescue specialist, asked permission to paddle for help. He stopped a short distance away to wave and to throw off his life preserver, which appeared to interfere with his paddling.In the afternoon, several aircraft passed within sight of the stricken crew, but none saw it.