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Hokulea Departs from Rapa Nui for the Pitcairn Islands

The crew of Hawaii’s legendary Polynesian voyaging canoe Hokulea yesterday departed from Rapa Nui as they continue on their Malama Honua voyage and head to Pitcairn. Hokulea returns to the Pitcairn Islands for the first time since her voyage in 1999, when the canoe sailed around the Polynesian Triangle.

While in Rapa Nui, the crew worked alongside the Nahiku Student Delegation to help fulfill the mission of the Worldwide Voyage by connecting with the local community and representing Hawaii. The Nahiku Student Delegation and Hokulea crew activities included meetings with both the Governor and Mayor of Rapa Nui, a visit to the Kupuna (elders) of Hare Koa Tiare Care Home, and a tour of Museo Rapa Nui. Hokuleawas honored with a traditional landing ceremony on Anakena Beach, the site of historic seafaring welcomes for the small island community of Rapa Nui.

“Returning to Rapa Nui and reconnecting with our ohana and other community members is an important milestone for Hokulea and the Worldwide Voyage, marking our return to the Polynesian triangle and the deep history of Polynesian voyaging,” said pwo navigator Bruce Blankenfeld, captain of the Hokulea. “This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our shared commitment to preserving traditions, values, and environment, but also to discuss the challenges that we face in light of changes to our ocean and well-being as island people.”

The Pitcairn Islands are a cluster of volcanic islands and atolls in the southern Pacific Ocean forming the last British Overseas Territory in the Pacific. The area around Pitcairn Islands is one of the most pristine places on the Earth.

Following Pitcairn, Hokulea will head to the Marquesas Islands and to Tahiti, where she will be greeted by the local community in mid-April.  From Tahiti,  the crew will continue their journey home to Hawaii and will be welcomed at Magic Island, on June 17, 2017.

Hōkūleʻa Arrives at Rapa Nui (AKA Easter Island)

Crewmembers aboard Hōkūleʻa have arrived to Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island, a journey that’s expected to take about two and a half weeks.

“Rapa Nui signifies a major cultural return for Polynesian navigation and our Worldwide Voyage as we re-enter the Polynesian triangle, the birthplace of our wayfinding heritage,” said master navigator Nainoa Thompson.

The crew will stay on the island for approximately a week before sailing on to French Polynesia.

After voyaging approximately 1,900 nautical miles over six days, Leg 28 crewmembers landed in Rapa Nui and we were greeted by long time friends and family that have been close to Hōkūleʻa for decades. Because Captain Archie Kalepa needed to depart the evening crewmembers arrived, the group expedited a visit to Tongariki, where 15 Moai stand guard to the east.

The arrival to Rapa Nui was suddenly made real as the crew stood in the shadow of these wonders that have been witnesses to the incredible changes that this place has seen. Crewmembers are using this time for quiet reflection after finishing the epic voyage from the Galapagos.

Hokulea Crew Overcomes Major Navigational Challenge and Finds Rapa Nui

The crew of Hokulea arrived safely at Rapa Nui today after sailing for about 16 days across approximately 1,900 nautical miles of deep ocean. A team of four apprentice navigators successfully lead the Hokulea and the major navigational challenge of spotting the tiny remote island of Rapa Nui (Easter Island) yesterday at sunset. The crew spotted the island about 43 nautical miles out.

“Finding Rapa Nui was by far one of the biggest challenges our crew has faced,” said Hokulea captain, Archie Kalepa. “With a few more months left in this journey, we’re glad to be back in Polynesian waters and for the opportunity to reconnect with the Rapa Nui community.”

This is the first time Hokulea has visited the UNESCO World Heritage Site since her last voyage to the island 18 years ago. The Rapa Nui arrival also marks the voyaging canoe’s return to the Polynesian triangle since departing these waters three years ago on the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage.

The team of apprentice navigators have been working together on navigating and turning studies into practice since departing the Galapagos Islands on February 12, 2017. They have been guiding the way by using their knowledge of the stars and taking directional cues derived from their observations of nature. Because of its tiny size and remote location, Rapa Nui is considered one of the most difficult islands to find using traditional wayfinding.

After making landfall in Rapa Nui, the crew will be joined by a teacher and student delegation from Hawaii and the group will spend the week participating in cultural and educational engagements with Rapa Nui leaders and the community.  Activities will include meeting both the Governor and Mayor of Rapa Nui, a visit to the kupuna (elders) of Hare Koa Tiare Care Home, and a tour of Museo Rapa Nui. The crew and delegation will also connect with the Toki School of Music for a day of community service and voyaging outreach.

With famed archaeological sites including nearly 900 monumental statues called moai and an isolated environment rich with unique diversity, the small volcanic island of Rapa Nui represents an opportunity for the crew to learn more about the island’s status as a World Heritage Site as well as the strong cultural history of its Polynesian ancestors.

Following Rapa Nui, Hokulea will sail to French Polynesia before her return home to Magic Island on June 17, 2017.

Hokulea Sets Sail for Rapa Nui and the Navigational Return to the Pacific

The crew of Hawaii’s legendary Polynesian voyaging canoe Hokulea set sail today for Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island, continuing the Worldwide Voyage’s Malama Honua global movement to care for our earth and marking Hokulea’s return to the navigational ocean currents that will lead her home.

During their visit to the islands of Galapagos, the crew of Hokulea invited teachers and students from James B. Castle High School, Kamehameha Schools and Halau Ku Mana Public Charter School to join them at the UNESCO World Heritage Marine Site in learning more about the islands’ fragile ecosystem and discussing best practices for how to conserve the earth’s most critical resources.

“Heading to Rapa Nui, Hokulea carries the invaluable lessons of global sustainability that were learned and shared at other UNESCO World Heritage sites such as the Galapagos Islands,” said Nainoa Thompson, president of Polynesian Voyaging Society. “In addition to being a recognized global resource by organizations such as UNESCO, Rapa Nui signifies a major cultural return for Polynesian navigation and our Worldwide Voyage as we re-enter the Polynesian triangle, the birthplace of our wayfinding heritage.”

Hokulea is expected to port in Rapa Nui around February 28, weather permitting. The crew will stay on the island for approximately a week  before sailing on to French Polynesia. The crew will again be joined by a contingency of teachers and students from Hawaii.  The last time Hokulea visited Rapa Nui was on a voyage that took place in 1999.

Host to famed archaeological sites including nearly 900 monumental statues called moai, Rapa Nui is a remote volcanic island located in Polynesia under Chilean territory. Rapa Nui represents an opportunity for the crew to learn more about the island’s status as a World Heritage Site as well as the rich cultural history of its Polynesian ancestors.

The Malama Honua voyage will cover over 60,000 nautical miles upon its return home to Magic Island estimated this June.