Hokulea Crew Celebrates Equator Crossing with Ceremonial Protocol

Hokulea crossed the equator yesterday, marking an important milestone in her journey north from Tahiti back to Hawaii. Now having been at sea for ten days during this final international leg of the Worldwide Voyage, Hokulea crew members  performed a deeply significant ceremony to mark the crossing.

Paying close attention to the canoe’s position relative to the elements surrounding them, the crew accurately tracked their latitude to recognize this moment entering the piko o wakea, or equatorial crossing point. “To be in this space, and to be able to confirm where we are based on what we’re seeing in the sky–and to then justify it, back it up one more time with our mileage and navigating process–has been very gratifying,” said Pua Lincoln Maielua, apprentice navigator aboard Hokulea.

The crew performed a traditional awa ceremony; one by one, each person then placed pohaku, or stones, in the water, representing the crew member’s home and family. The ceremony performed yesterday fulfilled a vision by pwo (master) navigator Bruce Blankenfeld, set in motion at the beginning of the Worldwide Voyage three years ago. Now the sail master on board for this final leg of the Malama Honua voyage, Bruce led the crew to begin this new tradition. As traditional Polynesian voyaging continues to grow and flourish and as crossings occur over years and generations, sailors will continue to drop pohaku into the ocean here in honor of this place.

Hokulea’s expected return to Hawaii on June 17 will be celebrated at Magic Island with a cultural welcoming ceremony  followed by a grand celebration open to the entire community. The week-long celebration will continue with the Malama Honua Fair and Summit, a three-day event at the Hawaii Convention Center, which will highlight the voyaging, cultural, environmental, educational, and health and well-being missions of the Worldwide Voyage by sharing malama honua “stories of hope” and voyage-inspired initiatives and activities with the public.

The event’s inspirational speaker series will feature local and global speakers who have engaged with the Voyage including: Megan Smith, 3rd chief technology officer of the United States; Dieter Paulmann, founder of Okeanos Foundation for the Sea; and Ocean Elders Sylvia Earle, Jean-Michel Cousteau, and Don Walsh. Registration for these events is now open at www.hokulea.com/summit.

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