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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.

Hokulea Sets Sail for Hawaii and Historic Worldwide Voyage Homecoming

After 5 days in the community of Tautira – a  second home of the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) and legendary canoe Hokulea – the crews of Hokulea and Hikianalia bid  a warm goodbye to their Tahitian voyaging ohana and departed on the final historic leg of the Worldwide Voyage: sailing home to Hawaii.

The people of Tautira have been the Tahitian caretakers of the canoes and crews of PVS since Hokulea’s maiden voyage in 1976. Upon arrival in Tautira, the crew payed homage to the family ties so important to the shared voyaging heritage of Hawaii and Tahiti, visiting the grave sites of leaders who helped build the connection more than forty years ago.

The crews were hosted at Mayor Papa Sane’s home and welcomed as family in this voyaging community so closely held to Hawaii’s own.

The morning of Wednesday, May 17, Hokulea, sister canoe Hikianalia, and escort vessel Gershon II began the final leg of the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage departing from Tahiti to head back home to Hawaii. This last, historic stretch of the sail plan is expected to take 3-4 weeks (pending weather).

The canoes will make a celebratory return to Honolulu on Saturday, June 17 at Magic Island for 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 Hawaiʻi 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.

Hokulea’s Crew Celebrate Christmas in Caribbean Waters

Crewmembers aboard the historic vessel Hokulea are celebrating Christmas Day at sea while in transit to Panama where they will clear customs before crossing the Panama Canal.

With approximately a week to go before Hokulea reaches Panama, the crew took the opportunity to decorate the canoe with festive trimmings to get into the holiday spirit while they are away from their families and loved ones over the holiday season.

“Not many people get to celebrate the holidays while at sea on the deck of Hokulea during this epic around-the-world voyage,” said Hokulea captain and pwo navigator Bruce Blankenfeld. “As much as we’d love to be home in Hawaii with our loved ones at this time of year, we are all truly honored to be sailing Hokulea to share our Malama Honua message with communities around the world.”

Hokulea was sailing along the coast of Cuba today and will arrive in Panama around December 31, where the crew will possibly ring in the new year. Once she re-enters the Pacific Ocean, Hokulea will make stops in the Galapagos Islands, Rapa Nui and French Polynesia before her sail west back to a celebratory homecoming at Magic Island in June 2017.

Hokulea Sets Sail for the Panama Canal

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).

Hokulea Departs Miami

Crewmembers aboard the iconic voyaging canoe Hokulea departed Miami’s waters this morning and are headed for Key West for a brief stop before sailing to Panama to transit through the Panama Canal.

Hokulea ended Leg 25 of the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage in Miami where she was moored for approximately two weeks for necessary re-provisioning and preparations for the canoe’s next crew and journey to Panama.  The canoe was docked at Shake-A-Leg Marina, which is home to a non-profit organization that offers therapeutic watersport activities and marine environment education to people with physical and developmental disabilities.  The crew hosted several canoe tours for the youth and adults participating in the Shake-A-Leg Miami programs.

During the two-week stay in South Florida, the crew also utilized their time to host public canoe tours and reconnect with schools to share the environmental and cultural mission of the Voyage. Na Kelamoku, Polynesian Voyaging Society’s youth leadership group, also joined the crew in Miami to visit with schools and learn from other Miami organizations studying the environment.  Both groups also visited the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Hurricane Center and Weather Service and heard from local experts on how they track weather, forecast storms and collaborate with the Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu.

“We are incredibly grateful for the opportunities we’ve had to work with Florida’s people, fulfilling our hope of inspiring and strengthening more communities throughout Island Earth” said Kalepa Baybayan, pwo navigator and captain for Hokulea’s sail throughout Florida. “Hokulea has been prepared for a successful crossing back into the Pacific Ocean and we look forward to welcoming her back home to beautiful Hawaii Nei.”

After the canoe’s transit through the Panama Canal, crews will make stops in the Galapagos Islands, Rapa Nui and French Polynesia. She will continue to sail west until she concludes her Worldwide Voyage with a historic homecoming at Magic Island in June 2017. Within the remaining seven months, the Voyage will further its mission of engaging communities worldwide with education, collaboration and service and share the message of Malama Honua (caring for Island Earth).

Hokulea Departs Virginia and Sets Sail for Miami, Florida

Crewmembers aboard legendary voyaging canoe Hokulea are setting their sights for Miami, Florida as the team departed Hampton, Virginia yesterday morning.

hokulea-vermont1For three weeks, the vessel was dry docked at the nationally-acclaimed Mariners’ Museum to perform necessary restoration work, including structural repairs, service to electrical and mechanical systems and a new exterior paint job. After the completion of maintenance, Hokulea was returned to the water and readied for the next leg of the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage.

hokulea-vermont2“Virginia welcomed our crew with genuine warmth and aloha and we are thankful for the opportunity to work with so many dedicated volunteers throughout the period of our dry dock,” said captain Bruce Blankenfeld. “With the dedication of our skilled dry-dock team as well as the hands and hearts of the community, Hokulea is in great shape for her journey home.”

hokulea-vermont3

This leg of the Voyage takes Hokulea and her crew 950 nautical miles to Miami, Florida. The canoe will make approximately 16 stops in various ports along the way and is expected to arrive in Miami by early December.

hokulea-vermont4Miami is one of the Florida’s most famous travel destinations and in addition to having the most populous areas in the state, the southern coast is home to some of the greatest biologically diverse marine ecosystems.  During her first touch to Florida in March, Hokulea and her crew engaged with local community groups to learn about the environmental and cultural legacy of the region. In Miami, crewmembers will once again engage with local community members to share the mission of the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage before continuing the 11,000 miles home.

Hokulea Begins Travel to North American Great Lakes Using Complex Waterway Lock System

Precision, timing and patience: these meticulous elements are crucial to the success of Hokulea’s most current leg of the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage, as the canoe and her crew are set to encounter lock after lock on their first-time sail to the Great Lakes of North America. A lock is a complex waterway system used for raising and lowering watercraft between bodies of water of different levels on rivers and waterways.

locks4The traditional voyaging canoe from Hawaii left Waterford, New York early this morning and docked at Riverlink Marina in Amsterdam, New York at around 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Crew members are now prepped to sail the Erie Canal locks and bridges, taking the Oswego detour to pass through 30 locks to reach Lake Ontario.

locksThe canoe first encountered the waterway lock system in March this year during her Florida sail. However, this current series of locks is the most extensive lock system that the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage has experienced, and the crew will take this time to learn the more intricate details about the physics of the lock system. On this leg of the voyage, the canoe has been elevated by the waterway locks by a collective total of 250 feet.

locks2The Hokulea crew plans to re-start sailing tomorrow morning at 7:30 a.m. ET. After completing the first ten 10 locks today, they are aiming to complete Locks 11-18, with Lock 17 having the highest water lift of 40 feet.

locks3This current leg will bring Hokulea the furthest north that she will travel on the Worldwide Voyage.

Hokulea Heading to the Great Lakes

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.

great lakesThe 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).

Great Lakes1Leg 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.

great lakes2Another 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.

great lakes3“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.

great lakes4