Hokulea is changing course in pursuit of new connections and opportunities to share the principles of malama honua – caring for our Island Earth – the core mission of the legendary voyaging canoe’s ambitious Worldwide Voyage. The Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) released the new sail plan today, which charts a course for the East Coast of the continental United States from her current position in the Caribbean en route to Havana, Cuba.
“We see tremendous opportunities in these ports to engage with people who are leading the world in sustainable practices, including those who are integrating indigenous knowledge and perspectives to inform the choices we make about our future world,” said Nainoa Thompson, President of PVS. “We are hungry to learn from these visionaries, and we are honored to have the opportunity to share the story of our Voyage with the communities we will visit.”
As part of this new sail plan, Hokulea’s first contact with the continental United States will be in Florida at the end of March, hosted by organizations and communities such as Everglades National Park.
“It makes sense to have Hokulea’s arrival into the continental U.S. be at a place that is not only a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but also a national park focused on restoring and protecting the country’s largest subtropical wilderness,” said Thompson. “This represents an important part of the mission of this Voyage, which is to recognize the efforts and learn from mission partners such as the National Park Service, which is celebrating its Centennial this year,” he added.
From Everglades National Park, the crew will sail up to Fort Meyers and then travel across the Florida peninsula via the Okeechobee Waterway to the eastern coast of the state, where they will celebrate the spirit of exploration and honor the late Lacy Veach at Kennedy Space Center in early April. Veach was a Hawaii-born NASA astronaut who first suggested the idea that Hokulea should sail around the world to share the message to care for Island Earth.
Following Florida, the crew will travel up the East Coast making several stops including South Carolina and Virginia. In Virginia, Hokulea and her crew will celebrate Earth Day with the Mariners’ Museum and community of Newport News, offering canoe tours and dockside outreach to the public. Additional engagement stops in Virginia include Yorktown and Tangier Island, where the crew will learn about the environmental issues affecting Chesapeake Bay and the efforts to protect the country’s largest watershed.
Continuing through the Chesapeake, Hokulea will sail to Piscataway Park, Maryland for a private ceremony with the area’s First Nations tribes followed by a Celebration of Friendship the next day that will take place in Old Town Alexandria, VA and will be open to the public. From there, the iconic canoe will arrive at the nation’s capital by sailing along the Potomac River and docking at the historic Washington Canoe Club.
After spending about a week in Washington D.C.,Hokulea will sail to New York City. On June 5, an arrival ceremony will be held as the canoe sails down the Hudson River and docks at North Cove Marina.
During Hokulea’s New York visit, the Polynesian Voyaging Society will be engaging in a variety of education and outreach activities. The organization has been working with local community organizations and schools in preparation for the June visit, and expects to reach out to children in different boroughs throughout the city.
On June 8, Hokulea will be a focal point at the World Oceans Day events hosted by the United Nations. The theme of this year’s World Oceans Day is Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet. UN delegates, global conservation leaders, Hawaii environmental leaders, Hawaii education leaders, and supporters will come together to hear first-hand stories of the state of the ocean and celebrate the journey of the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage. During this time, Thompson will share progress on the declarations and commitments to action entrusted to Hokulea during the Voyage from the UN Secretary General, world leaders, and communities.
“New York City will be a pivotal point of the Worldwide Voyage,” said Thompson. “This is the place where we will bring together many of our partners and fellow ocean protectors, and we will be able to reflect, celebrate and thank everyone who has supported our mission,” he added.
While in New York City, Hokulea also will participate in the Hawaiian Airlines Liberty Challenge, which is the East Coast’s largest Pacific Islands festival and one of the world’s most competitive outrigger races.
Hokulea is expected to depart New York City on June 18 for several engagements in the New England states including Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.
Worldwide Voyage collaborators for this sail plan engagement include the National Park Service, United States Forest Service, UNESCO, American Canoe Association, Halawai NY, Global Island Partnership (GLISPA), Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, and National Geographic Society among many others. PVS is working with U.S. East Coast schools to create opportunities for educational exchanges, and will open a door for Hawaii educators and students to join in these partnerships and engagement opportunities.