The Journey across the Map
By Thomas Takao
Episode 5 “Building a Road"
Florencia and Leonardo talents were enhanced by the other and it added a complimentary aura to their relationship. The Governor sensed this and was pleased in having Leonardo working for him. While Florencia was designing her house, Leonardo was designing his boat that he wanted to construct on his spare time. There was much to do around the Governor’s hacienda. Leonardo drew an overall plan encompassing the roads leading into Portobello, the rivers, the high grounds and valleys, the town and harbor. From that he could redesign the entire area into a more efficient entity pertaining to commerce and military defense. Having drawn a Master Plan of the city the Governor, Florencia and Leonardo would have regular meetings to discuss details of the Plan and make adjustments. From those meetings committees were created to further study the developments of the Plan.
The construction went according to plan and the town was hiring more and more workers and with that the town grew. Meanwhile a road to Florencia house was being built along with two bridges. With all of the construction going on the flow of gold and silver were increasing by the day. The responsibility that Leonardo was entrusted with grew and that would increase his pay scale. With each increase his boat that he was planning on got a little larger. Florencia was still in the planning stage of her house and was going through rough sketches of the building, the land on which it will be located and the road leading into the estate. After about three months of preliminary planning she began transforming her ideas in a working drawing for her house. Leonardo helped on the foundation plan and supervised the installation. The other projects included in the construction were a road leading from the second bridge to the house.
Leonardo was busy on the route that the mule trains of gold and silver were coming from. The gold from Peru and the silver from Mexico were being shipped back to Spain from Panama and Cartagena, Colombia. The governor’s brother Phillip Ortega was in charge of the Colombia shipment. Vast amounts of gold and silver were being shipped on schedule and thousands of tons of the precious metals were being protected at the storage depots at each location. The military were in charge of protecting the locations from the pirates that lurked off shore and the bandits that were on land.
After six months the house is built and the interior in certain section of the house was being furnished. The two story main house is on the bluff overlooking the bay. Leonardo and Florencia are walking around the house and viewing the scenery. The warehouse and workshop were still under construction. Leonardo had a wharf built inside the bay a few hundred meters from the house. This is where his new boat that is being built concurrently will be docked. Within the Master plan of the area Florencia wanted a plantation growing agricultural products. Leonardo drew plans for the crop areas and the irrigation. The priest at the church in Portobello had brought books with him from Spain about the Roman aqueduct system. Leonardo spent his free time doing research on the information. His mind was like a sponge absorbing the details and thinking of new ways to utilize the concepts for a particular problem that needed to be done.
Every week there were meeting of the progress and problems that may have developed during the previous week. The governor at one such meeting brings up the topic of the road to the gold depot, pirates problem, security and Florencia’s house. Leonardo explains what is happening “The road is near completion to the gold depot and the bridge was completed over the weekend to Florencia’s house. Florencia’s house is near completion, but the workshop and warehouse is still in progress”. “How is the Gold Depot coming along Leonardo” asked the governor. “We are reinforcing the outer perimeter and added guard towers at varies locations at the site. With the inner perimeter and warehouses setup for maximum flow from the incoming loads and redistribution for the outgoing loads to the ships” Leonardo answered. “Good, good” was the governor’s response. “What about the house?” the governor continued. “It’s near completion and some landscaping is being done. Florencia had ordered the furniture when the project started and will be receiving the shipment in the near future” answered Leonardo.
“I see you are on the ball and things are working out well. Good work Leonardo” said the governor as he continued “There is a special assignment I need you to do in three month time. It involves traveling to Peru and be my representative regarding the shipment of gold from Peru to Panama, I will go into detail of what will be happening before your departure” the governor sips his wine after finishing his explanation of what he wanted Leonardo to do. Leonardo looked at Florencia and she at him, he had a smirk of uncertainty and she with a sad eye smile. Two weeks later as the projects were being finish, Leonardo and Florencia are out sailing in the afternoon breeze. The new boat is sailing good with its all-around ease of handling and she is fast. Leonardo drew up the plans and with the help of the local builder, it was built to his approval. Now on the water and at the helm of La Flecha his 40 ft. sailboat, he is enjoying the moment with Florencia.
“What crops do think we should plant first in quadrant A, B, C and D Leonardo” asked Florencia. “With the available workforce we should stagger the crop rotation so as to have just the amount that our work force can handle. The orchards will have the same concept but if demand increases there will be an option to increase the plots” Leonardo answered back while looking towards the bow. Returning his thoughts back to the helm Leonardo tells Florencia they are about to change directions. In a moment’s notice he steers into the wind and the boom on the mast swings around and pops as the wind fill in the mainsail.
Having calculated his course of travel and amount of time that they would spend on the water Leonardo begins his return trip home to the “Hacienda by the Sea”. With his first mate beside him Leonard keeps an eye of which way the wind is blowing and the landmark to steer by. Entering the bay “la Flecha” swings wide and turns toward the wharf. Leonardo lowers the sail as Florencia has the helm. The boat slows and Leonardo has the line in hand and then throws the line to an awaiting worker who ties the line to the dock cleat. A crew of 4 with buckets and mops clean la Flecha of the saltwater from the deck and sides. “I will meet you at the house after I take care of a few minor adjustments, Flo” yelled Leonardo as Florencia was walking towards the complex of the warehouse and workshop. “Ok, Leo see you back at the house” she yelled back. After waving and nodding his head up and down to confirm he understood, Leonardo goes below and checks on the bilge area of the boat. Just a slight amount of water from some water spraying in from the forward hatch, Leonardo has one of the worker wipe the water before closing the bilge hatch. Walking back to the house Leonardo is thinking of the projects that are on-going and the new ones that are about to happen.
There was a change of plans regarding Leonardo trip to Peru, it had been rescheduled for 6 months later and giving Leonardo more time around the facility and the plantation. A half hectare of rainforest was cleared away and crops were being planted. Water is being brought in from a river a quarter mile away by way of a canal designed by Leonardo. It feeds sub-channels that flow into separate furrow blocks that are flooded and let dry. As Leonardo was talking to one of his supervisors, a messenger arrives with a note from the governor. It mentions he would like to meet with Leonardo and Florencia. So Leonardo returns to the house and let Florencia know and prepares for the meeting.
Arriving on a Friday they had planned on staying the weekend. The meeting began in the morning and would finish mid-afternoon. It involved shipments of quantities, dates and estimated arrival periods of the precious metals. How the new storage depots and the paper work has been updated to accommodate the increase in volume. During the meeting the governor hands a letter to Leonardo from the Spanish Court and says “They still want you to go on the mapping assignment. But I have an idea, I know a person who is the grandson of Juan de la Cosa and he is in Cartagena. He has the skills of map making and has worked for my brother Phillip, he speaks very highly of him and is well qualified for this project. I will get a letter off to Spain tomorrow”. “I will have to make a copy of the map, but the information in the books is another story. Still working on deciphering it and I haven’t given it much thought lately. If they have a map and find the location I can go after them” said Leonardo. “All right I will have that in the message and see if that will do to please the court” said the Juan and the meeting was adjourned. Florencia and Leonardo was being sent to Cartagena the following week to convey a few things Governor wanted his brother Governor Phillip to do.
The provision for the sail over to Cartagena had been made and Leonardo has informed his supervisors and foremen of what to do while they are gone. Florencia has done the same with the servants around the main house. It was mid-morning when Leonardo pushed off the wharf and releasing the dock lines. Both Leonardo and Florencia waved to the servants on the wharf as they waved back. There was a slight breeze developing and the tide was going out. After rounding the entrance of the bay they headed East by Southeast. The breeze picked up and la Flecha is doing a steady 14 knots on a port tack. Having time to discuss the various things on their mind, both establish a routine to keep themselves busy as the vast open space of the ocean passes by. Nightfall approaches and Florencia is at the helm, Leonardo comes out of the cabin of the boat and takes over the helm from Florencia. Taking some leaves out of a pouch he begins to chew on the coco leaves. “One of the supervisors gave me these leaves and told me they could be addicting but will keep me going when I get tired. I told him I will be careful not to over-do it” said Leonardo.
“He is right I have seen older workers use it daily and they act strange at times for over using. Drawing the line of when to use something and stopping there is what life teaches us said Florencia. “I have you to watch over me my dear” said Leonardo as he looked out at the twilight of night. “I will take care in using the leaf” Leonardo said while chewing on one as darkness settled in. The following morning Florencia awakens and steps out into the cockpit where Leonardo is looking over his map of Cartagena Harbor. “Good Morning Flo” greeted Leonardo. “Good Morning Leo” answered Florencia. “We should be in harbor within an hour” Leonardo commented as Florencia sat next to him. The sun was making it way up on the eastern horizon off the port beam.
After landing in Cartagena the two went off to see Florencia’s uncle in the carriage that he had sent for them after he was notified of their arrival. They go through the town and arrive at a massive gold depot which looked like a city within a city. The driver pulls up to the main 3 story office and the couple goes inside to be greeted by Phillip himself in the lounge. “Nice to see you again Florencia and a pleasure to meet you young man” while Phillip gave Florencia a hug and a handshake to Leonardo. They discuss what Governor Juan had told them and afterwards they were talking about pirates and the latest developments happening in Panama. “Excuse me Sir” said Leonardo “Governor Juan said you knew a map maker who was the grandson of Juan de la Cosa”. “Yes, he does work for me, why do you ask?“ said Phillip. “I originally was assign to map an island in the Pacifico Ocean. We only know that it might be anywhere in the vast space west of Mexico, That was the original plans, but during the time I arrived in Panama and now I was hired by Governor Juan and will be marrying Florencia after returning from Peru” Leonardo answered to clarify his question. “Oh I see, I can arrange Hector to switch places with you and that should be fine” Phillip said while closing out the meeting.
“Florencia, you and Leonardo will stay at my place” said Phillip. “Thank you Uncle, we would love to stay the night” said Florencia. “We have important matters to discuss with you this evening” Florencia remarked. “That will be fine , you and Leonardo can fresh up this afternoon and we will have dinner and go over what your father has in mind tonight, but will excuse for now I have a meeting to attend” said Governor Phillip said with a smile. That evening dinner was served at Governor estate and he and his wife Ana were splendid hosts. After relaying the message her father had sent them for Leonardo and Florencia retired for the night. The 5 am and the lone rooster set off the alarm by his wake up call. All pack and ready to go and with the first signs of daylight. The sail were up and they were off with the tide, there was a slight breeze pushing them into the sunrise. The slight breeze became steady and la Flecha was traveling 15 knots. Cutting through the water and making good time at that speed as nightfall came upon them, they made land by the next afternoon. Flo and Leo had continue their brain storming ideas from the day before and were in the same mode when they landed. The days turned into months and the two were busy in harvest season at the plantation and Leonardo was preparing for his trip to Peru. “Your father went over his plan with me regarding the agenda” Leonardo mentioned to Florencia and she look at him and nodded her head while thinking of a few other things.
Traveling on horseback Leonardo made the trip over and arrived in Panama City. He would take the next week to sight-see and get to know the city after checking in at the hotel. One day at the beach looking out at the surf he notices a kid playing in the surf, catching the white water with a piece of plank about the length of the youngster. As Leonardo watched the kid leap on the white water and was propelled forward toward shore. The ride wasn’t long but what Leonardo noticed is that the kid was having fun and wanting to do it again. After going in the kid was dragging the plank back across the beach to its hide it in the bushes. Leonardo catches up to him and asked if he could try using his board and would pay for using it, the kid said “Si’”. Out into the water with his trouser on and his shirt off, Leonardo went out a little further where the white water was larger. After a few tries Leonardo catches the white water and is moving to shore. Leonardo felt the stoke that the kid had expressed and thought to himself this is fun. After a few more white water waves Leonardo returned the plank to the young boy and sat back under the tree and began sketching a few ideas and some waves on a sheet of paper.
The week went by quickly with going to the beach, study Vincenzo’s books and thinking of his next boat. It was time to depart from Panama and to sail to Peru. After getting on board Leonardo was reviewing his drawing of the beach while on the port rail of the “Mensajero de Viento” (Messenger of the Wind) as it made its way along Ecuador’s coastline. Looking at the wave drawings again it brought back the memory of riding the waves. The captain of the “Mensajero” was Felix Hernandez and he had stopped by to talk with Leonardo as the sun was setting on the first day out from Panama. “As mentioned we will be stopping in Trujillo for 2 days before sailing on to Callao” said Captain Hernandez. The Captain looking at Leonardo sketch of the waves continued “There is a beach city Huanchaco where fishermen ride the waves on boats made of reeds”. “Boats riding waves” Leonardo questioned. “Yes, they have been doing it for a very long time. Way before we set foot on these lands” explained Captain Hernandez. “I will visit that place and see for myself when we anchor” said Leonardo while thinking about his experience of riding the white water in Panama.
A week later Mensajero de Viento was anchored off Trujillo and Leonardo was on the beach at Huanchaco and watching the fishermen on their boats surfing in from their daily fishing. Waiting out in the lineup a group of fishermen took turns catching the waves in. Some came straight into shore while others angled and were riding the waves with the white water behind them. With the unbroken part of the wave in front of them, they would get a longer ride before straightening out and riding the white water in. Fascinated by what he was seeing he walked over to a group of fishermen and asked if one of them could teach him to surf. A person steps forward and says he can and then introduces himself as Sergio Barbosa and that he could teach him to surf and had a boat for him to use. It wasn’t long before Leonardo was paddling out and occasionally falling off to the side. Once in the lineup Sergio tells Leonardo what to look for when the swell gets closer to shore and where to be to catch the wave. As they sat there Sergio told Leonardo to start paddling for the wave. Leonardo looked at him and then out to the horizon and see a swell approaching. So he starts paddling for it. The swell passes him and breaks about ten feet farther in. Sergio laughs and says you are too slow paddle harder. Watch me on the next wave and see how I do it.
So Leonardo did just that and noticed it was timing of where to be, when to begin paddling and to know when you have caught the wave. After a half an hour Leonardo started to catch on and started to get his balance and control. Leonardo would spend the rest of the day surfing. “You are naturally gifted for surfing my friend” said Sergio as he watched. Leonardo improved with each wave that he rode. Out in the lineup Sergio is talking to Leonardo in between set of waves and said “There is a city to the north and it’s named is Chicama. I heard that the waves there are very long and a few people I know have ridden it. One day I will go there and ride the waves” Sergio remarked with a deep conviction to do so. Leonardo thanked Sergio for teaching him and said he will always remember him before getting into his carriage and returning to Trujillo that evening.
The following day the Mensajero set sail and went out to sea and making its way to Callao. Once there Leonardo made all of his contacts and exchanged his letters from Governor Juan to the Viceroy of Peru Vidal Sestorio. Attending varies parties and visiting Inca villages, Leonardo’s had a good time. But time came and went and three weeks later Leonardo would be back in Panama City. There to greet him was a letter from Florencia. She says that they have been attacked by pirates and they have burned down the house, wharf and boat and had damage the current crops out in the fields. She and the servants were lucky to have escaped back to her father’s estate. She will be waiting there when he returns. After reading the letter Leonardo rushes over to the governor of Panama City office and has a talk with the governor about what has occurred. The governor was aware of the incident and had prepared an escort unit for Leonardo’s return trip back home.
Once back to Portobello, he is at Governor Juan’s estate and enters the main house where Florencia is sitting somewhat distraught. After seeing Leonardo she rushes over to him. Overwhelmed, Florencia started to cry and Leonardo comforts her with a securing embrace and says “You are all right and that is all that matters to me, everything else can be replaced”. They looked at each other and he wiped the tear from her face and with a sigh she said “You are right”. They embraced and she told Leonardo “you are my guiding light”. Leonardo in return said you are my inspiration”. Happy to be together they discussed the rebuilding of their house and plantation. They were married in three month time and had come back from their honeymoon when a letter from the Court of Spain came to his attention. It was regarding the original quest to find the location on the map that Leonardo had. He had made a copy for Hector to use, but the ship Hector was on ran into a storm and the ship and all onboard was lost.
So Leonardo was order to continue on his mission to find the island in the Pacifico. Florencia says to Leonardo “I will go with you; I can’t bear to be without you”. Leonardo stood in silence while looking at Florencia and remarked “All right, but what about your father?” “He will understand” Florencia said as she reached for and held Leonardo’s hand. After discussing their intentions and somewhat against Florencia from going the governor gave in and agreed. The two made the trip over to Panama City and would depart in a week’s time into the Pacifico Ocean.
After taking Florencia to those places he had visited on his first trip to Panama City, they ended the day at the beach where he watched the young boys surf the white water. The sunset was very colorful as the hues of yellow, red, violet and orange stretched across the clouds framed by a powder blue sky with darkness of nightfall soon to follow. They had dinner at a cantina near the ship “La Buscador” (The Seeker) of which they would be traveling on. “La Buscador” is sailing to Acapulco first to unload weapons and documents to the government officials there before turning west into the vast Pacifico Ocean” said Leonardo while taking a bite from his meal. “I had a talk with Captain Rogelio Vargas the other day about my theory of where to start and how long it might take to get there”.
“I feel this is the final leg of the journey to get to where the location is on the map. I have been studying the map on and off for quite a while. But it wasn’t until the Padre shared those books back at the church in Portobello that things became clearer in how to approach the location” said Leonardo to Florencia. As he continued “There was a book by Claudius Ptolemaeus known as “Ptolemy” a Roman scholar who recognized a need for a grid system to measure ones location. Using north as the top of maps and south as the bottom and having lines spaced out in those direction. Then going east to west with lines spaced out in those directions evenly. Then using that concept and the general descriptions noted on the map of Vincenzo. I came to the conclusion that what we are looking for is due west of Acapulco. Having talked with some of the navigators here in Panama of their trip from the Philippines to Acapulco, I’m guessing around 40 days or so is where we will find land”.
Leonardo lifted his wine cup and said “A toast to the finding the land and returning home to rebuild our house and our future” as Leonardo touches the wine cup from Florencia extended arm. “I have some wonderful ideas for our house Leonardo” said Florencia. “I can hardly wait to get back and start” said Leonardo while smiling and places his cup down as Florencia does the same. “We will make it much better this time” said Leonardo as Florencia nodded her head to say yes. They left the cantina and returned to their quarters aboard the La Buscador. With the command of weigh anchor La Buscador starts to drift before the sails fill in and slowly leaves the harbor for her trip to Acapulco. Leonardo and Florencia looks back as the mountains starts to disappear and the routine of being out at sea takes over. Leonardo and Florencia would have dinner with Captain Vargas. After the meal the table was cleared and the maps are brought out. The Captain asks “Do you really think the land we seek is west of Acapulco, Leonardo”. “It is a guess and I can’t guarantee that it will be out there, but my guess there is something out there. I know it like finding a needle in a haystack, but the King wants us to find it and claim it for Spain. So Captain I have my orders like you and these maps that I have is all that we have to go by” said Leonardo.
“We will sail for 40 days and if no land is sited we will turn around and return back to Acapulco. The supplies we have on board will last for 100 days. I have to think of everyone on board and their welfare” Captain Vargas replied. “Understood Captain” Leonardo replied back. The next day came and went like each day that would follow, blue sky and a breeze from the northeast. Arriving in Acapulco 10 days later, La Buscador loads up on supplies and water and is preparing to leave on their mission. Going over the map Leonardo, the Captain and the navigator discuss the details of the course as the ship leaves the harbor and into the unknown.The first week went by and being out at sea turned into routine. Each morning the officer on deck would ring the bell indicating 8 am. Leonardo would have a daily meeting with the captain and a walk around the deck with Florencia. They would discuss topics that either had in mind. A group of individuals would have a Sunday mass service held around 10 am with an opening and closing prayer. Each day would start and end the same as the previous day.
On the 35th day a tern was spotted flying near the ship and the watch in the crow’s nest calls out the bird off the starboard bow. Leonardo rushes to see and observes the bird with his spyglass flying away north by northwest. The captain walks over to Leonardo and says we shall make a slight adjustment in our direction and change our course north by north west. After a few days the watch in the crow’s nest notices a log floating by some 200 yards away. Then notices on the horizon two peaks and yell “land ho, four points off the port bow”. Leonardo and Florencia were talking about home when the watch spotted land and both turned to their left and saw the two peaks. Not knowing the height of the peaks the Officer on deck guest it would be few hour before landing, it took nearly a day before they could see the base of the large mountains.
It was late in the afternoon when La Buscador sailed into the large bay. With his spyglass scanning the shoreline Captain Vargas set a course to the middle of the bay. Before laying anchor on a sandy bed Leonardo, the Captain and a few others notices someone closer to shore riding a wave. With their spyglasses Leonardo and the Captain would watch the lone surfer ride the wave toward shore, it was a long wave and after he rode it the rider paddled back out. Leonardo being excited about seeing a surfer at an island in the middle of nowhere orders a crew to have a rowboat ready to meet the person riding the waves. Leonardo is on the bow of the row boat as they approach the surfer and says “Greetings, we wish you no harm, we come in Peace”. The surfer paddles over to the rowboat and says “Aloha, I have been expecting you Leonardo”. Almost falling into the water Leonardo asks “How do you know my name and you speak in my native language, who are you” Leonardo asked appearing to be flabbergasted.
Just before answering Leonardo question the surfer see a set of waves coming and tells Leonardo and his crew to start rowing back to the middle of the bay and do it fast”. Leonardo orders the rowers to do so while the surfer paddles further out and waits for the waves to form. He catches the second wave of the set and stands to his feet and angles in the direction of the wave breaking on the reef. It was another long ride and the surfer looks back out at Leonardo and waves his wrist toward himself for the others to follow as he paddles in toward shore. The Captain and Florencia are watching from the ship and are talking to each other. “Where are they going” asked Florencia as the surfer paddles in and the row boat with Leonardo and the crew follow. “They are following him to shore” replied the Captain.
The Captain orders another rowboat into the water and sends Lieutenant Silva and 10 soldiers to assist Leonardo. With all the commotion happening on deck Florencia was still watching what was happening on shore through her spyglass. As the man drags his surfboard onto shore and places the surfboard further up onto the beach. Leonardo and the crew reach the shore and push their rowboat up the beach also. The man walks over to Leonardo and appears to be saying something through Florencia’s spyglass. On the beach the surfer is introducing himself. “I am the Kahuna of Papa he’e Nalu (Priest of the Surfboard) and they call me Kai’ike. I make surfboards and my family’s heritage of surfboard builders goes back a long time. Also I am gifted with the ability to see into the future and communicate with others who have the same abilities. The map that you possess is from someone I knew.
Starting to understand who this person is and why he knew who Leonardo was becoming clearer as he talked. “There was a man who had washed ashore one day from a storm a few years ago. “Yes he wrote about his experience in the books which I have copies of and the last thing he wrote was that he was fishing” said Leonardo. Kai’ike looks up into the sky and tells Leonardo the rest of the story in how Vincenzo met his end. Leonardo stood there letting the story sink in and then asked “How did you know my name, was it through your vision into the future?”. “Yes, it was through those books that I was able to follow you” said Kai’ike. Leonardo continued with “Those books are the reason I am here. Now that I am here those clues in the book will make much more sense”. “Yes, there is so much we can talk about” said Kai’ike.
For me surfing and surfboard building is my life and I have no other ambitions except for helping my people when they are in need of help and to see surfboard builders of the future and understand their stories. For their stories is like rain and it makes the tree of surfboard building grow and with the growth, the branches of development reaches new levels and the sky Is the limit. I am bound to my time period of what is available to me. I may see surfboards of all shapes, size and construction and amazed of what it can do, but I am content to live out my life here and now”. Leonardo was wondering with such power as to see things that has not yet happen and to be content of wanting just what he has of the here and now made him wonder about this man that he was talking too. “What kind of stories have you been able to visit” asked Leonardo. “I will answer your question at a later time. Your captain has sent another boat to assist you”. Leonardo turns around and sees the rowboat that Kai’ike has mentioned. “Go back to the ship with your men and tell your captain I will visit his ship in the morning and answers his questions” Kai’ike said nodding his head before walking towards his large hut, where his wife was waiting.
Florencia is watching Leonardo talking to the stranger then Leonardo walks over to the men on the beach as they push the boat back out off the beach and the approaching boat turns around. “Leonardo is coming back” Florencia says to the Captain. “Yes, I will see what has transpired” the Captain said to Florencia. As the two rowboats return to La Buscador, Kai’ike meets Hokuao at the entrance to their Hale (house) “They have arrived just as you predicted” Hokuao says in their native language. Pausing for a moment after her remark Kai’ike mentions “A new day has arrived” putting his arm around her shoulder as they enter the Hale. Leonardo informs Captain Vargas of Kai’ike and the conversation they had on the beach. “What do you make of this revelation” the Captain asks. “It is stunning, but yet enlightening” do I make sense Leonardo asks responding to the Captain’s question. Florencia looks at Leonardo and holds his hand. Just before the Captain could continue with his questioning one of the officers asks “What about the others who live here? Are they friendly or are we a threat to them”. “That is what we must ask the Kahuna and many other things when he arrives tomorrow” was Captain Vargas answer to the Lieutenant.
The Captain and Leonardo would have a private meeting to discuss the matter further. Once inside his cabin the Captain remarks “I have never heard of anyone being able to predict the future, let alone have such a plan where you were chosen to sail around the world to meet a person who knew of the map”. “Believe me Captain, I’m more surprised than anyone” Leonardo said with a uncertain look on his face. “If all of this is true, what about us and our mission” the Captain ask with a slight nervous tone in his voice. “That I do not know, but I will ask Kai’ike when he comes tomorrow” Leonardo responded. “Very well, until tomorrow Leonardo” said the Captain. The following day Kai’ike paddles out in his canoe with one of his villager who would wait in the canoe for Kai’ike, as he boards the ship. “Welcome aboard La Buscador Sir, as the officers and crew stand at attention. Kai’ike wearing his ceremonial costume steps on board. “You have a fine ship and I am impressed with the craftsmanship of her hull” the Kahuna said as he approached the Captain. With the ceremony of welcoming a dignitary to the ship complete, Kai’ike is escorted to the Captain’s quarters as the tropical day warms the landscape.
Sitting around the table the Captain begins the discussion by introducing everyone and explains their mission to Kai’ike. Kai’ike thanks the Captain and the crew and begins talking about where they are “Long ago our fore fathers came from distant islands and settle here. We like you have rulers that make the rules and the people of the villages abide by those rules. Each island of which there are several has their rules as well. Sometimes one village disagrees with another and a war may break out between villages and or islands. After which the winner will control the other. Looking out the port hole Kai’ike mentions “the climate is mostly like what they see today year round and you will have no need for warm clothing, except if one were to climb high into the mountains”. As he continued “I am a builder of surfboards and canoes and go surfing whenever there are waves. There are others like me who build surfboards here on these islands. But I have a special vision and the other builders place me above them with the title of Kahuna Papa he’e Nalu”, explaining to everyone the meaning of his title. He continued with “One rule that we have here that is slowly changing is that the sport of surfing is for the ruling families .
Now if a Chief has been granted permission by the Ali'i to allow his villagers to surf then all will have the ability to surf. Our Ali'i is wise and knowing if the people are happy he is well off and if he is well off then there is harmony between him and the people. One officer asks “What is surfing?” Moving away from the table so that he has room to express his thoughts, Kai’ike says “Surfing is when a person rides a wave with a surfboard (holding out his arms as to balance himself) The surfboard is made of wood and is of varies lengths and thickness and is covered with an oil to repel water from saturating it with weight. It is a special item to those who understand what it can do”. Another officer asks “Is that what you were doing when we first entered the Bay”. “Yes” said Kai’ike and explained the basic principles of the sport. “The factors of the surfboard in how it rides, is the way it paddles, how it catches waves, its turns and how fast it can go. There a few more things, but those are the basics”. The discussion would continue for the remainder of the morning, when Kai’ike thanked everyone and said he must return to his house for he has work to be done. Everyone in the room stood and thanked him for his time.
Before leaving Kai’ike walks over to Leonardo and invites him and Florencia for dinner. Leonardo accepted and says they will be over later that afternoon. A crew of six would escort Leonardo and Florencia to the beach where they drop them off and would return back to the ship. As Leonardo and Florencia walk up the beach she says “I’m a little nervous Leo” “Don’t be, I’m beside you and you besides me” Leonardo said to her. There to greet them was Kai’ike and Hokuao with open arms and with smiling faces. Hokuao and Kai’ike welcomed Leonardo and Florencia with a “Aloha”. Kai’ike explained that when people meet or depart they say Aloha. Leonardo and Florencia returned the greeting with an Aloha to the both of them. Leonardo introduced himself and Florencia to Kai’ike and Hokuao. Kai’ike mentions to Leonardo that he would like to show him his work shop where he builds surfboards and canoes and Hokuao will be showing Florencia around their Hale and other areas of interest.
“Hokuao understand your language and will be fine with Florencia. We usually talk in our native language here, but are able to communicate in other languages” commented Kai’ike. As Hokuao points to a fish pond nearby and begins walking in that direction Florencia follows and begins a conversation. Kai’ike points towards his shop and he and Leonardo start walking in that direction. They enter the shop and on a racks made from lava stone buried in the ground piled up to waist high. Lying on the rack was a half craved blank of a wiliwili tree. On a table near the rack were his adzes, stone chisels, rubbing stones, hammerstone, wooden clamps and few other items that he uses to build with. Leonardo looks over his tools and the wiliwili wood that he is craving. “How do you determine the length, the width and thickness of your surfboard” asked Leonardo. “I remember certain characteristic of each board that I have made and use those ideas into my new surfboard. The outline has an important part of my design and try to make it the same on each side” answered Kai’ike. In one corner of his shop were a few of his surfboards that he has made. They are mostly for the Alii’s family members, some were made of wiliwili and the others were made of Koa wood.
Meanwhile at the fish pond Hokuao explains to Florencia about their fishes. Florencia views the pond and the stream that supplies the water. In the distance she see a waterfall and a pool that supplies the pond with water and a streams that flow to the sea. “It’s so beautiful here” Florencia remarked. Hokuao smiles and nods her head. “Kai’ike and I have daily chores and after they are done we have our own things that we like to do. Kai’ike makes surfboards and canoes and I make garments from barkcloth from the different trees and plants. After the material is readied, I use vegetable dyes to color and place patterns on the materials with different objects. Then the material is cut out and it is sewn together with coconut fiber” explained Hokuao.
“I see the outfit you have on is very interesting with its pattern design and color combinations” complimented Florencia. “Mahalo Florencia, if you like I can show you more of my collection” she said “Yes, I would like to do so” continued Florencia. So the two ladies walked over to another shop where Hokuao has her collection. Meanwhile Kai’ike is explaining to Leonardo the concept that a surfboard builder has in his mind before beginning his work. Then showing Leonardo how to use the adze, stone chisel and rubbing stone. “The core material in our surfboard and canoes is Koa and occasionally I use Wiliwili for surfboards and ama on the canoes. The Koa is located higher up the mountain so it takes time to get the wood” said Kai’ike. “Have a seat” pointing to a chair that Kai’ike designed and built.
“What I’m going to tell you now must not leave this shop. Will you give me your word that you will not tell anyone about what I’m going to tell you” with a tone of secrecy in Kai’ike voice. “I give you my word” answered Leonardo. “Very well, what I see in surfboard building will be like what I’m showing you now for the next 350 years. Then in the 1900’s a transformation will happen to many things and the surfboard. From being heavy to becoming lighter, this will make surfing very popular” Kai’ike said with a smile. Not fully understanding what Kai’ike was saying, Leonardo asks “You see this and other things happening as well?” “It is mostly surfing, but all these other things that I speak of do have an influence on what is happening then. Such things as flying machines, moving vessels with four wheels and many, many other things” continued Kai’ike. Leonardo eyes widen after hearing about the things that will exist in the future. “From this time I see some of the surfboard builders in my visions. There is one who stands out and his name is Duke Kahanamoku. His mana is shown over and over again by a thing called movies. A movie is a thing that captures the action of things and is shown back on a white wall. This is how many, many people will see him surfing without being there when he is riding the waves” said Kai’ike.
Leonardo asks” So this thing called a movie shows a person surfing over and over again and to many people who were not there when it happened”. “Yes, that is how surfing grew and some of those who were watching wanted to surf and make their own surfboard. That is how the world of that time period found out about surfing” said Kai’ike. Leonardo is slowly grasping what the world will look like 350 years into the future. “So Kai’ike what does all of this have to do with me and why is surfing going to be part of my life” said Leonardo. “You were the one that Vincenzo’s books went to and in those books your destiny was enclosed. That is why you are here” said Kai’ike. “ There was a vision after Vincenzo and Nani Pua perished. Alohi Hoku came to me and said Vincenzo was the messenger and you were the one who would be chosen to inherit my powers” said Kai’ike. Leonardo had a somber look and was digesting what was being told to him. After asking a few more questions and realizing this was meant to be. Leonardo said “I am honored and I hope to be worthy of this augury”.
“Before you leave these islands the abilities that I talked about will be within you and that your wife Florencia will have the abilities of Hokuao within her. Only you two will remember this stay here and the others will remember nothing on your sail back to Acupalco”. Hokuao and I know that we are only here for a short while in the wide scope of time and the vision of Alohi Hoku and Vincenzo is just part of what will be. His books and map was meant for you and now you know why I share and my powers with you and Hokuao share hers with Florencia. Sensing not to anger Kai’ike and knowing his powers, Leonardo shook his head to answer he understood while thinking of his father back home and now his god-father here on these islands. At the same time Hokuao was explaining the same to Florencia and gave her a hug like a mother would do for her daughter to convey the love that goes with the thought.
“Now that I explained the main reason of you and Florencia for being in the islands, the remaining time that you and Florencia will be here is fo learn to surf” said Kai’ike as he stepped out from his shop and Leonardo followed. Pointing to the waves in the Bay, Kai’ike mentions “There something special about surfing you and Florencia will learn in time. As Leonardo listened and looked out at the waves he asked “Will Florencia and I do the same in giving the power of what we have to others when we grow older”. “If or when you and Florencia have a child the first born will carry on with the power, but it will end there with that child. The power of vision into the future will end with you two if there is no child. By giving you our powers we have prolong this gift that we have until we grow old and visit our loved ones. With that said Hokuao and Florencia approached the two men. “I know what you two are talking about” said Hokuao as she stood next to Kai’ike. Leonardo looks over to Florencia and reaches for her hand. Florencia says “I have so much to talk to you about”. “And I to you” said Leonardo as Hokuao pointed toward the entrance of the Hale and said “Shall we go inside and have an afternoon meal”. “Yes” said Kai’ike. The afternoon was spent discussing many subjects and events. From the time Kai’ike started his discussion and when he finished, both Leonardo and Florencia were in awe. It was time to return back to the ship, as the crew was sent back to pick them up around the arrange time. Leonardo asked Kai’ike “do you think the waves will be good to go surfing tomorrow”. Kai’ike said “Yes”. Leonardo and Florencia said “Aloha, until tomorrow”. Kai’ike and Hokuao said the same.
The next morning Leonado and Florencia were on shore walking over to Kai’ike hale discussing the new house Florencia had in mind. After being greeted Leonardo say “Well we are ready to go surf”. “But first you must change into your trunks and bikini that she will wear” said Kai’ike. “What is trunks and what is a bikini” asked Leonardo. “That is what surfer in the future call their garments that they wear when they go surfing” answered Kai’ike. “your trunks that you will be using is a loin cloth in the front and back with a cloth underneath and connected by a draw string that wraps around the waist holding everything up at the waist. The bikini has the same but a top to cover the upper portion of Florencia body. Hokuao has made a few extra of each and has them ready”. So Leonardo goes into Hokuao dressing room and changes into the trunks and Florencia changes into her bikini.
Kai’ike had brought out the surfboards that everyone will be using near his surfboard hut and he and Leonardo would carry them to the water’s edge. went to get it. “These boards are made of wiliwili wood and called are called alaia. They will be more easier to use. I’m riding a koa board known as Olo which is longer and heavier. “Remember what I told you about paddling and finding your place to paddle from, not too forward and not too far back. “It is the same that I told Florencia” said Hokuao. “The board moves through the water best when equally balanced. After you find your place follow me out to the lineup” remarked Kai’ike to Leonardo and Florencia. “Also after a ride paddle back out through the channel where it is easier to get out”. After finding where they thinks the center of balance is Leonardo and Florencia begins to paddle out, occasionally falling off to one side a few times before they gets into the rhythm of paddling and starts to make way through the water. Kai’ike having a longer board is out in the lineup in no time followed by Hokuao while Leonardo and Florencia still paddling out.
After getting out to the area where they will catch the wave, Kai’ike explains what to look for as the swell approaches before it turns into a wave and when to begin paddling for it. “Once the front of your surfboard begins to moves on its own you must stand up and place your rear foot in the water for your surfboard to turn in the direction your foot is placed either left or right. So here comes a wave get ready to paddle for it”. Leonardo remembering his experience with the plank in Panama and the reed boat in Peru begins to paddle and catches the wave. Kai’ike says “Alright Leonardo” as he goes straight riding the white water. With his arm extended to balance himself he rides the wave for about 50 feet. All excited he turns to Kai’ike and says “I did it” while pumping his arms into the air. Florencia is scared but Hokuao is there coaching her. Sitting near Florencia and telling her “remember what I showed you yesterday about standing up”. She gives Florencia a push from the rear of the surfboard and tells her to “paddle”. Florencia was a natural and stood up without a problem and was riding the whitewater. The officers and crew aboard the La Buscador is cheering them on. The Captain is talking to his first Lieutenant and says “Leonardo and are enjoying his stay here. Changing the subject have a crew with 2 rowboats go to shore for water and food tomorrow after they finish surfing. Kai’ike mentioned he would have the villagers in the valley have it ready for us”. “Yes Sir, as the Lieutenant motioned to his Sargent who was standing next to him. “We will have the boats ready” yelled out the Sargent.
Kai’ike catches a wave. He glides across the face of the wave at an angle, using his right leg to steer with. Using his weight to shift the board slightly down and placing his leg back into the water to climb back up the face of the wave. Picking up speed as he ends his ride, as Kai’ike paddles back out as he watches Leonardo catch a wave, this time he angle into it and begins to move across the face of the wave. This is something Leonardo has never felt before, traveling on a wave faster than running and about the same speed of riding a horse at half gallop. With his arms out to balance his glide through the section the whitewater begins to slow down. The crew aboard La Buscador are yelling with admiration after the ride. Suddenly the crew became silent, the watch in the crow nest yells “Shark 100 ft. off the starboard bow”. Leonardo could hear the alarm and paddles next to Kai’ike. “I sensed his present while paddling back out” said Kai’ike “He will not bother us”. After saying those words the shark disappeared and Leonardo and Florencia along with Hokuao and Kai’ike kept on surfing. Leonardo and Florencia were hooked on surfing as they paddle in with Kai’ike and Hokuao. Back on shore Leonardo tells Kai’ike “surfing is something he would like to do all the time and I want learn as much as possible about this sport”.
Kai’ike smiled and says “You will learn my son...you will learn”. At that moment Leonardo thought back to the time on the bridge crossing the Arno with his father. Nodding his head to Kai’ike as to say he understood. Walking up the beach Florencia in an excited tone said to Leonardo “I love surfing“ Both smile and hugged in front of Kai’ike. Kai’ike says “you two remind me of Hoku’loa and I when we were younger, cherish these moment for they are special”. Hokuao walks up and smiles at Kai’ike and reminds him of what needs to be done. “What would I do without you, my world would be disorganized” smiled Kai’ike. Leonardo looked at Florencia as to say me too.
Kai’ike notices the the rowboats landing on the beach a few hundred meters from the Hale. He says to Hokuao “I see them now and I will go to the village and help them get their supplies. The Chief knows of our arrival. Leonardo will go with me while Florencia will stay with you Hokuao”. One crew was unloading empty barrels for the water and the other crew was unloading the empty sacks for the supplies. Kai’ike and Leonardo walk up to Lieutenant Hermano. Leonardo gives Lieutenant Hermano a hand shake of thumbs crossing with palms and fingers clasping. Lieutenant Hermano greets the handshake by saying “We were watching you two rides the waves from the ship and it was quite entertaining” while looking at Leonardo. Then turning to Kai’ike he says” we are ready to go as planned Sir”.