Legendary voyaging canoe Hokulea and her crew departed from Key West yesterday morning. The crew of the 26th leg of the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines will continue to make way for the historic Panama Canal, where the ancient Polynesian voyaging replica will transit through the modern industrial marvel.
During her stay in Key West, Hokulea underwent usual inspections and maintenance in preparation for the next journey. The crew left Key West around 10:10 a.m. EST and sailed through the island’s channel under tow of the ship Gershon II. As she re-enters Caribbean waters, Hokulea will shift her sights for the 48-mile journey through the Panama Canal heading back to the South Pacific Ocean.
“Hokulea traveling through the Panama Canal will be a sight to see and is symbolic of ancient technology meeting modern day technology,” said Hokulea captain and pwo navigator Bruce Blankenfeld. “We anticipate this will be a special moment for everyone aboard, and will mark another tremendous milestone for the crewmembers who have sailed this vessel to great lengths.”
After the canoe’s transit through the Panama Canal, Hokulea will make stops in the Galapagos Islands, Rapa Nui and French Polynesia before her sail west back to the Hawaiian Islands. She is scheduled to make a celebratory homecoming at Magic Island in June 2017. With just under seven months to go on the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines, the Hokulea team will continue engaging communities through education, collaboration and service, sharing the message of ocean conservation and sustainability and the mission of Malama Honua (caring for Island Earth).