Hokulea departed Jersey City, New Jersey this morning to embark on a new journey that will take the iconic canoe to the Great Lakes for the first time in history. After sailing through New York via the Hudson River, Hokulea is slated to sail through the fresh water systems of the Erie Canal, Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence.
The canoe will reach the farthest point north of the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage when she arrives in Sorel, Canada in mid-September and is expected to return to New Jersey by October (weather-permitting).
Leg 23 of the the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage gives the Hokulea crew an opportunity to learn about Canada’s parks, lakes, rivers and wetlands and what the country is doing to protect and conserve these resources. Canada has one fifth of the world’s freshwater.
Another first in her sailing history, the traditional sailing vessel will travel through Canada’s locks and waterways exploring new territory for the canoe and her experienced crew. Hokulea’s crew will sail up New York’s Hudson River to the Erie Canal to reach Lake Ontario and plans to travel all the way to the Saint Lawrence River in Quebec to access Montreal. The canoe is expected to journey through 52 locks and under 160 bridges, crossing fresh water systems throughout inland Canada.
“Exploration is core to what we do, which is why we are sailing Hokulea to waters where we never imagined she could go,” said Nainoa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging society and pwo (master) navigator. “Because of Canada’s lock system and other complexities, the voyaging team has spent months preparing for this leg by researching and studying these waterways,” he added.