After spending six days in Cuba interacting with the country’s local community for the first time in her history, Hawaii’s famed voyaging canoe Hokulea continues her journey by sailing roughly 96 nautical miles north to Key West, Florida. The crew left Havana, Cuba early today at 6:00 a.m. and is estimated to arrive at the Sunshine State’s southernmost point at approximately 9:00 p.m. local time. Note: Florida is six hours ahead of Hawaii time.
“Our experience in Cuba was very memorable,” said Kalepa Baybayan, captain and pwo navigator on board Hokulea. “Once again, we discovered common threads with a community who is also perpetuating the Malama Honua message of taking care of our precious natural resources through various innovative initiatives.” The Cuba engagement gave the Hokulea crew the opportunity to see FINCA Marta, an organic farm that used mostly solar power for irrigation. The crewmembers also visited the Museo de la Canoa to learn about Caribbean canoe history and Old Havana Town.
The Key West stop will allow Hokulea to clear customs before she reaches the continental US at Everglades City, Florida in the next few days. In Florida, the crew will have the opportunity to honor the indigenous people of the land. From Florida, the canoe will travel up the US East Coast with stops in South Carolina, Virginia, Washington DC and New York. She is scheduled to arrive in New York City by June 8, 2016 to be part of the United Nations’ World Oceans Day.
Since departing Hawaiian waters in May 2014, Hokulea has sailed more than 21,500 nautical miles and made stops in 12 countries and 55 ports, weaving a “Lei of Hope” around the world. Along the way, more than 160 volunteer crewmembers have helped to sail Hokulea accompanied by escort vessel Gershon II to spread the message of malama honua (or taking care of Island Earth) by promoting sustainability and environmental consciousness, as well as exchanging ideas with the countries she has visited. So far, crew members have connected with over 45,000 people in communities across the South Pacific, Tasman Sea and Indian Ocean including Samoa, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Australia, Indonesia, Mauritius, South Africa and Brazil. For a midway recap of the Worldwide Voyage, please view http://www.hokulea.com/2015-worldwide-voyage-recap/
Hokulea first set out on the Pacific Ocean in 1975. Since then, she has traveled to multiple countries across the globe, reawakening a Hawaiian cultural renaissance in the process through reviving the traditional art of wayfinding – navigating the sea guided by nature using the ocean swells, stars, and wind.