Hokulea achieved another first in her epic Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage: the famed voyaging canoe and her crew arrived at Martha’s Vineyard yesterday, an area accessible only by boat or air travel.
The mishoon is the first one built on the island in over 300 years. Captain Bruce Blankenfeld displayed two strands of wampum (beads made from shell) that the crew received from the tribe, to acknowledge the Wampanoag nation’s welcome.
Customary chants and speeches were exchanged between the Hokulea crew and the Wampanoag, in honor of each group’s respective traditions. The crew was also presented with gifts of school-grown food from the Edgartown School students.
The canoe’s arrival was particularly meaningful to Sanford Low, a Hokulea crewmember and current resident of Martha’s Vineyard. “To me, this day could not have gone better; it was full of aloha, it was full of spirit, and it was just plain joy,” Low said. “This is really a joining of two different islands across a massive ocean… This canoe has come, these people, this crew has come to learn from the people of Martha’s Vineyard and take back to Hawaii.”
Hokulea will remain docked at Martha’s Vineyard for a few days, and crewmembers will set up tents and exhibits for the local community to learn more about the Malama Honua message of taking care of Island Earth.