Soon after graduating from high school on the island of Hawaii, I seized an opportunity to go to sea aboard a traditionally rigged sailing ship based out of Kealakekua Bay that carried cargo to various island groups in the South Pacific. It utterly changed my life and instilled in me a now lifelong passion for old-fashioned, sea-borne vessels. I also realized that I felt at home at sea and that the ocean would somehow always be a part of my life. From that initial voyage a career developed, and I spent the next decade sailing around the world on different boats and in varying capacities, ultimately logging over 40,000 open ocean miles with visits to 38 different countries as a licensed captain.
The more places I travelled to, and the more I learned about the marine environment, the more I became interested in how people from different regions adapt to their ocean surroundings. For example, I marveled at how Cook Islanders gathered mother of pearl shell from depths of 30+ meters by free-diving or how Hawaiians farmed fish in ponds made from stone and coral without the use of metal. All around the world people have adapted to the marine environment in their own unique and interesting ways and the questions of how and why these adaptations occurred engaged me. As time passed, the desire to more seriously pursue these interests formally and to fulfill my lifelong dream of attaining a college education grew stronger. Thus in 2003, I returned home and “swallowed the anchor” so that I could attend the University of Hawaii to study archaeology.