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Hokulea Returning Home

Hawaii’s iconic voyaging canoe Hokulea will conclude its epic three-year sail around the globe and return home to the Hawaiian Islands in June 2017.  The mission of the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines was to weave a lei of hope around the world through sharing indigenous wisdom, groundbreaking conservation and preservation initiatives while learning from the past and from each other, creating global relationships, and discovering the wonders of the Island Earth.

On Saturday, June 17, Hokulea and its crew members will make their historic return to Hawaii at Oahu’s Magic Island after sailing more than 40,000 nautical miles since departing Oahu for the first deep sea leg of the voyage in May 2014. Hokulea will sail into Magic Island along with a fleet of about seven deep sea voyaging canoes from Hawaii, Tahiti and New Zealand.  The homecoming celebration, themed Lei Kaapuni Honua, meaning “A Lei Around The World,” honors the journey of connecting cultures and people around the world.

“It is the realization of decades of hard work and planning on behalf of the Polynesian Voyaging Society crew and our partners and friends around the world to embark on the final leg of Hokulea’s voyage and return home,” said Nainoa Thompson, president of Polynesian Voyaging Society. “Watching Hokulea crest the waves of Oahu’s south shore as she returns home, much like the canoes of our ancestors, will be a once in a lifetime experience. We are overwhelmed with emotion at all we have accomplished during this historic voyage and we look forward to setting sail on the next chapter together.”

Hokulea’s homecoming will include a cultural welcoming ceremony followed by a grand celebration. To further engage the local community and continue the festivities, a series of additional homecoming events are planned during the week following the June 17 arrival. The Malama Honua Fair and Summit, a three-day summit, 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.

The mission of the Voyage has been to spread the message of Malama Honua (caring for Island Earth) by promoting environmental consciousness, fostering learning environments, bringing together island communities and growing a global movement toward a more sustainable world. The voyage has celebrated a resurgence of pride and respect for our native cultures and has created opportunities for people throughout the world to honor our shared heritage.

The Malama Honua sail plan included over 150 ports, 18 nations and eight of UNESCO’S Marine World Heritage sites, engaging local communities and practicing how to live sustainably. During the voyage, over 200 volunteer crew members have helped to sail the vessel and connect with more than 100,000 people throughout the world in communities across the South Pacific, Tasman Sea, Indian Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, and the Caribbean Sea, including Samoa, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Australia, Indonesia, Mauritius, South Africa, Brazil, U.S. Virgin Islands, Cuba, the East Coast of the United States, Canada, Panama, and the Galapagos Islands.

After returning to Hawaii in the fall of 2017, Hokulea and Hikianalia will sail around the Hawaiian Islands to reconnect with local communities and schools to share stories and lessons learned on the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage.

Hokulea Makes its Way Through First Lock of the Panama Canal

Famed voyaging canoe Hokulea has begun her journey through the Panama Canal lock system, following a one-day delay due to maintenance on the waterway.
In preparation for the next set of locks, Hokulea has been moored in Lake Gatun for the night and will continue her transit through the man-made waterway towards the Pacific Ocean tomorrow. Crews are expected to arrive in Balboa, Panama tomorrow, Jan. 11.

Hokulea will be welcomed by Panama’s indigenous organizations and community leaders after her arrival in Balboa. The crew will prepare and restock the vessel for her departure to the Galapagos Islands and then Rapa Nui, paying close attention to hull cleanliness to assure respect and care for these vibrant ecosystems.

To follow the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage, visit http://hokulea.com/track-the-voyage

Hokulea Crew Visits NASA Kennedy Space Center

Continuing their journey of connecting ocean wayfinding with space exploration, Hokulea crewmembers visited Florida’s NASA Kennedy Space Center today and engaged with the center’s staff. Polynesian Voyaging Society president and pwo navigator Nainoa Thompson also took the opportunity to speak to the NASA team on Hawaii-born NASA astronaut Lacy Veach’s contribution to space voyaging, and how Veach inspired the canoe’s Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage.

NASA Hokulea

“Coming to NASA for me has been an amazing celebration,” Thompson expressed during his speech today to a crowd of about 160 people that included both Hokulea and NASA crew. “I made a promise to Lacy back in ’95 when we lost him, that we’re going to go. It took us 22 years from the idea to actually leave, to get prepared to do something as dangerous as what we’re doing now. Lacy is our navigator on this voyage, and for that, this is the most important two days for me.”

NASA Hokulea Nainoa

Yesterday, the crew honored Veach along with Ellison Onizuka, another Hawaii-born astronaut for their extraordinary contributions to space voyaging, in an intimate ceremony onboard the canoe. Hokulea crewmembers conducted a star compass activity with local students, and pwo navigator Bruce Blankenfeld led a navigation presentation for the public visiting the center. Wednesday’s activities also included a tour of the NASA headquarters: Hokulea crewmembers visited the facilities where astronauts would get suited up before their flights, NASA’s vehicle assembly building and the launch control center.

Nasa Hokulea Building

Hokulea is scheduled to depart Titusville on Friday, April 8, and continue her journey up the east coast. For the most up-to-date schedule, visit http://www.hokulea.com/hokuleas-planned-east-coast-port-stops/.

To follow the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, visit http://hokulea.com/track-the-voyage

Hokulea Departs Fernando de Noronha for Natal

After a four-day stop at Fernando de Noronha, an archipelago off the Brazilian coast, Hokulea departed the UNESCO Marine World Heritage site yesterday at 11:00 a.m. Brazil time (3:00 a.m. HST) and is now headed to Natal, Rio Grande do Norte. Note: Fernando de Noronha is eight hours ahead of Hawaii Time. During their stay, crewmembers were able to learn about efforts to protect the marine life and other natural resources of the pristine island.

Hokulea21a

The Hokulea crew is now sailing approximately 241 miles to reach Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, located in northeastern Brazil. The arrival to the coastal city will mark Hokulea’s first visit to the South America continent. The leg will take approximately two days.

Hokulea21c

After stopping in Brazil, Hokulea will continue the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage and stop in several ports in the Caribbean before sailing north and visiting cities along the East Coast of the United States. She is scheduled to arrive in New York City by June 8, 2016 to celebrate World Oceans Day.

Hokulea21b

Since departing Hawaiian waters in May 2014, Hokulea has sailed more than 20,000 nautical miles and made stops in 11 countries and 46 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.

Hokulea21d

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 and South Africa. 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 through means of using natural resources like ocean swells, stars, and wind.