Hōkūleʻa Returns Home

At approximately 9:45 a.m. Hawaiʻi Standard Time, legendary voyaging canoe, Hōkūleʻa, sailed into the harbor at Oʻahu’s Magic Island after completing a 42,000-mile open-ocean journey around the world. Nearly 50,000 people gathered to celebrate the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) and the conclusion of the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines. Through sharing indigenous wisdom, groundbreaking conservation and preservation initiatives, creating global relationships, and discovering the wonders of the Island Earth, the epic journey has inspired practices to protect our environment for future generations.

Hōkūleʻa’s return to Hawaiʻi marks the first time in history that a Polynesian voyaging canoe has sailed around the world. The voyage was led by a crew of skilled navigators using ancient Polynesian wayfinding techniques, observing the stars, ocean, winds, birds and other signs of nature as mapping points for direction.

View a video highlighting Hōkūleʻa’s successful circumnavigation of Island Earth.

“The wisdom and knowledge of our ancestors coupled with inspirational, forward-thinking about connecting people and cultures to preserve our Island Earth, allowed us to create an unprecedented movement called Mālama Honua and navigate toward a more sustainable world,” said Nainoa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society. “Our voyage continues. We must keep inspiring the stewardship of our earth, perpetuation of our culture and learning how to care for environment and the people around us.”

Themed Lei Kaʻapuni Honua, meaning “A Lei Around The World,” the homecoming celebration honored the journey of connecting cultures and people across the globe. Dignitaries, leaders, sponsors, partners and the community joined the Polynesian Voyaging Society to watch as Hōkūleʻa sailed into Magic Island along with a fleet of seven deep sea voyaging canoes from Hawaiʻi, Tahiti and New Zealand. This historic return to Hawaiʻi was observed with a cultural welcoming ceremony followed by an all-day event filled with music and entertainment for the entire community.

“The State of Hawaiʻi is tremendously proud of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, crewmembers, volunteers and community partners of the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage for their efforts to share our knowledge and values and work collaboratively with cultures around the world to protect our environment,” said Hawaii State Governor David Y. Ige. “As a global leader in sustainability, Hawaiʻi and its people will continue to support environmental conservation and preservation initiatives that make our world a better place.”

“The Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage is a shining example of what we can accomplish together and the change we can initiate to realize a brighter future for Hawaii and the world,” said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell. “This global movement has not only encouraged stewardship of our island Earth, but also has inspired the next generation of navigators, explorers and engaged citizens who are proud of where they come from and what our culture stands for. The value and lessons from this voyage will continue to help our community thrive for years to come.”

A series of additional homecoming events are planned throughout homecoming week, including the Mālama 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 mālama 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 Mālama 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 encouraged a resurgence of pride and respect for native cultures and has created opportunities for people throughout the world to honor our shared heritage.

Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia will continue to sail around the Hawaiian Islands to reconnect with local communities and schools to share stories and lessons learned on the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage.

The Mālama Honua sail plan included more than 150 ports, 23 countries and territories, and eight of UNESCO’S Marine World Heritage sites, engaging local communities and practicing how to live sustainably. During the voyage, over 245 participating crew members, including more than 200 formal and informal educators, 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.



Crew Blog | Miki‘ala Akiona: Washing Machine

Mikiala AkionaCrew blog by Miki‘ala Akiona

These past few days have felt like we are churning inside a washing machine. The swells are coming from different sides, the wind is gusting, and our priority is safety. We have learned that we are in the middle of a storm cell. The main and the mizzen are reefed (to make a smaller triangle in the sails) and the storm jib (smaller jib) is up just to give us some momentum as we focus to quarter the swells from the forward port side of the canoe when steering.

During our watch, we have been working in pairs at the hoe and always clipping into the jack line. All the safety practices are emphasized over and over, especially at night. We are using as many hands as are available to help adjust the sails, working in pairs when moving to the forward deck, reviewing emergency protocol, and reminders to stay hydrated. When the sky is clear and there are enough navigational cues, we do what we can to hold our course line.

It hasn’t rained that much, but the deck continues to be wet. The swell splashing over the bow and starboard sides keeps everyone on their toes. Those of us sleeping in the starboard hatches are extra cautious when opening and closing the hatch. We do our best to time it so the water doesn’t drench us in the stairwell. Our cook even stopped cooking at the galley box on the starboard side of the deck after being splashed one too many times.

Everyone is pitching in to kōkua, especially during meals, so that we can be efficient from setup through cleanup. When we’re not on watch or helping out, the only other thing to do really is to go down to our bunks for some rest – hardly anyone can find a dry, shady spot on deck. Aside from a little nausea, we are keeping our spirits up and an eye out for each other while riding out this part of the cycle.


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Hōkūle‘a Homecoming

Click below to find out more about the events planned to celebrate the returning of our wa‘a to Hawai‘i:

Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia Approach Hawaiian Waters

Legendary voyaging canoes Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia are approaching the Hawaiian Islands after three years at sea.

Given that Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia are dependent on nature, a two week window was created to ensure the canoes arrive on time to meet the love, support and aloha of Hawai‘i. The two-week window also allows crewmembers to visit three very special sacred sites in Hawai‘i: Kaho‘olawe, Kalaupapa and Kualoa. There, the crew will pay respect to the culture, environment, history and heritage. These sites will be the last ports of the Worldwide Voyage and act as the final permission that allows Hōkūle‘a to come home and finish the epic voyage. Hōkūle‘a was launched from Kualoa; on the return leg of her maiden voyage, from Tahiti to Hawai‘i, the first place she anchored back in Hawai‘i was at Kalaupapa. These are spiritual and deeply important places for all people in Hawai‘i, and Hōkūle‘a crewmembers will be paying respect to them with a private ceremony.

Hōkūle‘a has not been in Hawaiian waters since the journey’s launch in May 2014. One of the many extraordinary aspects of the Worldwide Voyage is the opportunity it provided to train the next generation of navigators. “Succession is part of the mission and we are so proud,” says Nainoa Thompson, pwo navigator and president of Polynesian Voyaging Society. “We made a promise to the next generation that we would train them to be able to navigate these canoes in the future.”

Thousands of people have been working over a year to celebrate the completion of the worldwide voyage. Hōkūle‘a will be welcomed home to O‘ahu on June 17 at Magic Island, with a grand public celebration and ceremony followed by community Ho‘olaulea later in the day. The Mālama Honua Fair and Summit, held at the Hawaii Convention Center, will extend the celebration through June 20.


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Hōkūle‘a Homecoming – Save the Date

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Crew Blog | Nāʻālehu Anthony: Almost Home

Naalehu AnthonyCrew Blog by Nāʻālehu Anthony

Aloha kākou,

We are now in the most challenging part of the voyage. Our crew and our floating island are now in the thick of the doldrums of the ITCZ. Dark clouds persist all around us and new set of large waves has come through, making steering difficult to say the least. Lucky for us we have a seasoned crew, and have also had plenty of practice working together since this leg began. We’ve been gone from Hawaiʻi three and a half weeks, two weeks of those at sea, building our competencies as sailors, as a crew and as a team. Without that time together, these conditions would be hazardous – but through our time together we have reinforced our trust in our leadership and in each other to hold the course and keep us all safe. We are working hard to hold the course true for the navigation team so they have less deviation to calculate for and remember as they count every hour of sailing, tallying up to cover more than two degrees of latitude a day. The reward has been that their dead reckoning has closely matched their measurement of stars to verify our latitude, a good sign pointing to the skill and training of the navigation team.

I was going to write my halfway home blog today; but when I was trying to compose it in my head while on watch, I realized that this is more about being almost home. Don’t get me wrong – this crew has worked extremely hard for the last 1514 miles to bring us home, no doubt. But when I started to think about the long long list of ports and even longer list of crew members who have sailed and all the effort that has gone into this voyage, our 1514 miles are a small contribution to a much larger effort called the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage that we can all be proud to be a part of. The voyage has brought together people of all kinds in all kinds of places, inspiring each person to learn and grow in their own way. Our Leg 31 crew is a prime example of how our voyaging community is benefitting from the effort and growth of the crew on the Voyage. Our captain Pōmai stepped up from watch captain to bring this canoe home; our navigator Ka’iulani has stepped into the role of lead navigator after nearly two decades of training, and all of our apprentice navigators have spent heaps of time both on and off the water to prepare to be useful to support the navigator.

I think that’s what the voyage is really all about. We’ve done 31 legs like this in the last 36 months. We’ve sailed some of the toughest oceans with some of the greatest tests we could have as crew members of this sailing canoe and we’ve come away better for it. We’ve learned hard lessons. We’ve made mistakes and a lot of us have had to grow up a lot. And now, as this voyage ticks off the last few miles of the journey that took us around the planet and covered more than 40,000 nautical miles, we are coming home as different people to a different Hawai’i.

This voyage has changed us all.

SB 72,

Nāʻālehu


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Hōkūle‘a Homecoming – Save the Date

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Crew Blog| Mikiʻala Akiona: Snacks and Naps

Mikiala AkionaBlog by Hikianalia crewmember Mikiʻala Akiona

Just like pre-school, snacks and naps are an essential part of our daily routine on the waʻa. In preparation for this leg, it was recommended 1) to pack snacks to share, and 2) be sure to take naps around your watch once at sea.

Our seasoned crewmembers are pros at packing snacks. Everyday there is something new. Everything from homemade treats to crack seed store specials; sweet, sour, or salty, we’ve got it. Local favorites (like li hing candies, fruits, and seeds) don’t last very long as it goes around to the entire crew.

Comments about losing or gaining weight during a voyage are disregarded as no snack is denied. Aside from a tasty treat for our taste buds, snacks bring camaraderie and entertainment among the crew. Stories of childhood memories or other voyages start flowing and it’s an opportunity to learn about each other.

Another survival skill for voyaging is taking a nap. Finding the rhythm of life on the waʻa may take a little time; for me, the first few days were focused on acquiring my sea legs; I felt like I was always ready to go to bed. Around day five, I was more prepared and ready to participate, not wanting to miss a thing – so it is vital to time my sleep pattern to factor in my 10-2 watch, meals, and chores.

Each watch varies, but taking the time to rest is a must. Without sleep, our health can be adversely affected, attitudes and tempers change, and safety can be an issue if you’re not vigilant. Sleeping in Hikianalia’s bunks can be a little stuffy (especially when everything is closed during a squall), so during the day we seek shade and shelter around the deck to get a little shuteye.

Snacks and naps are priority for crew morale and health.


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Hōkūle‘a Homecoming – Save the Date

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Hōkūleʻa Update | Doldrums

Aloha all,

Just a quick update today. We are definitely in the doldrums. We are thankful for the gift of wind in this uncertain area of the ocean as it will help us to push through this region, hopefully in a matter of days. We are still making up the westing that we saw last week when the winds switched north of our position, although the navigation staff are confident that we have made back a lot of it in the last couple of days.

The morning brought a number of near-miss squalls to all corners of the canoe, until we took on multiple sets of rain-filled dark clouds. The wind in the squalls was light, which we counted as a blessing as this allowed us to sail through most of the bad weather. With our canoe lightened by the brand-new fresh water rinse, we sailed through the afternoon with trade winds starting to breakup the cloud-filled horizon. The cold PM did net us a nice surprise in the form of a small mahimahi, perfect for a bit of sashimi and fish head soup with long rice and ginger, bringing warmth to everyone on board. J-Boy is really hitting his stride with the meals.

Our crew is safe and working hard to keep the course through the night. Mahalo nui to everyone back at home supporting the voyage.

Pō malie everyone,
Nāʻālehu


Homecoming - Save the Date - Banner Feb 17 Update

Hōkūle‘a Homecoming:
Event registration is live!

Join thousands of supporters and fans to welcome Hōkūleʻa home to Hawaiʻi in June 2017! Register now for the Mālama Honua Summit, reserve your tour aboard Hōkūleʻa, and RSVP for the Polynesian Voyaging Society benefit dinner.

Crew Blog | Pua Lincoln: Kūkahi o Kaʻaona

Crew Blog by Pua Lincoln

Early this morning Kūmau (Polaris) revealed itself, shimmering humbly at the hālāwai exactly where we knew she was. To know, and then to see what you know is the ultimate moment of gratification while at sea. Each of us quietly acknowledged Kūmau for its steadfast connection to this ancient pathway we sail home on. Through prayer, song, smiles, and tears we thanked our kumu for teaching us, our kūpuna for leading us here, our kini akua – the elements of clear sky and steady wind. We visualized ourselves as children learning the stars at a family camp, or a blanket in our backyards, we relived the last moment we shared with Kūmau at sea, we remembered the final measurement we took of her twinkling above the horizon prior to departing Hawaiʻi 22 days ago.

We have crossed Ka Piko o ka Honua, the equator. We have entered Ke-ao-polohiwa-a-Kāne, the realm of Kāne. And though through our dead reckoning we can prove every nautical mile forward and west of our courseline, our numbers are grounded on the firm kāhua of what we see and feel. Those same hōʻailona that served as beacons for our kūpuna have pulsated throughout our voyage and housed themselves upon the deck of our floating honua, Tūtū Hōkūleʻa. We have observed the high arching dome of our sky, the keʻe of all celestial beings and movements above us, the chill in the evening and early morning darkness, the smell of the heat of kau ka lā ka lolo, the activation of sea and sky life, the coolness of our ocean, and Kūmau.

Today we began the next section of our journey and appropriately so we will see the Kūkahi moon this evening trailing behind the sun. We sail onward to all the pieces of us that we have left back at home, those pieces that we call Hawaiʻi. We sail with Kūmau at our manu ihu and Tautira in our wake. Tūtū Hōkū’s coming home!


Homecoming - Save the Date - Banner Feb 17 Update

Hōkūle‘a Homecoming:
Event registration is live!

Join thousands of supporters and fans to welcome Hōkūleʻa home to Hawaiʻi in June 2017! Register now for the Mālama Honua Summit, reserve your tour aboard Hōkūleʻa, and RSVP for the Polynesian Voyaging Society benefit dinner.

Crew Blog | Nāʻālehu Anthony: Crossing the Equator

Naalehu AnthonyCrew Blog by Nāʻālehu Anthony

Aloha kākou,

I came up to my 2 am watch to find much better wind conditions then when I went to sleep. We were sailing almost north, a much better heading than the previous day. The better news was that the dead reckoning for the trip matched up with the star measurements pretty well. At meridian, Pherkad measured 17 degrees above the horizon, which meant that we were only one degree south of the equator. With the sun rising today, the navigation team estimates that we have sailed 891 miles along our course line with us being 54 miles west of that line.

With the confirmation that we are crossing the equator today, we began the preparation for our ceremony to honor this crossing. Our ‘awa bowl was brought out and ‘awa was prepared. In the months leading up to this leg of the Voyage, Bruce asked those of us that wanted to to bring pohaku or stones from places that had meaning to us to leave here at the equator, to continue a new tradition with a very old thought that would connect this place to our homes and our home to this place. At so at noon, at the point in the day with the most mana, we set forth in a very old ceremony of ‘awa. I don’t know how many canoe crews have made ‘awa in all the thousands of canoes that have existed in all the thousands of years of voyaging, but I am certain that this is one of the most ancient sacred ceremonies that exists in Polynesia. We are certainly not the first to have this ceremony on our floating island as we cross this tremendously important threshold marking the change in hemispheres and paying tribute to the tremendous progress that we have made. We gave ‘awa to Kanaloa, our ocean akua, as well as to mama Hōkūleʻa, and then to the crew.

Our pohaku were taken to the bow of the canoe to be given their new home at Ka Piko o Wakea. One by one, these gifts from home were given to the ocean to bring about a new tradition that will be carried forward as we reinvigorate our connections to this path that was well worn for hundreds of years. In silent prayer, some sat for a time just to take in this special moment in this special place that not many of us will get to visit in this way, on this kind of vessel, more than once. As much sailing as I have done in the last two decades or so, this is my first crossing of the equator by canoe. It may be my only one. Either way, it was an honor and privilege to do it this way with this group of people who have come together to be a crew and now ‘ohana.

SB 72,

Nāʻālehu


Homecoming - Save the Date - Banner Feb 17 Update

Hōkūle‘a Homecoming:
Event registration is live!

Join thousands of supporters and fans to welcome Hōkūleʻa home to Hawaiʻi in June 2017! Register now for the Mālama Honua Summit, reserve your tour aboard Hōkūleʻa, and RSVP for the Polynesian Voyaging Society benefit dinner.