At 1300 HST on 06 May 2017, our voyaging crews met at Terminal 3 for this last international leg of the Worldwide Voyage. I am humbled to amongst the 31st crew to sail Hōkūle’a, bringing her home to Hawaiʻi after almost 40,000 nautical miles and three years of sailing around the planet in the name of Malama Honua. Now safely aboard our Hawaiian Airlines flight packed with all the gear we will need for our journey, we look forward to the tasks at hand as we head some 40 degrees to the south of us.
Reflecting on how far we have come after three continuous years of international sailing, I think about some of the things about voyaging that have strangely become commonplace, like the travel and production schedule. I walked out of the office yesterday like many other Fridays before this one – knowing that I would be gone for more than a month, but not feeling like it was such a big deal. On the voyaging side, we’re getting ready to cross 2500 miles of deep-ocean on a canoe without instruments – that is a big deal. On the documentation side, our offices at ʻŌiwiTV have had a steady stream of crew members inbound and outbound to various ports around the world, which has also been a big deal. We have been to places like Papeʻete and Maupiti and Cocos Keeling and Fernando de Noronha and many others I canʻt recall without prompting, somehow managing to find an internet connection on land or use our satellite on Hōkūle’a to share everything from updates to still photos to some of the most inspiring stories I have been witness to in my two decades as a filmmaker and storyteller.
But the inspirational stories and complicated mix of ancient and modern technology on this voyage are only a couple of dimensions of something much deeper and more complex. The mana of our canoe has been building for her 42 year journey – with each island pulled from the sea in the old way, without modern instruments like compass or GPS, we realize how important this voyage really is to helping the world understand the value of traditional knowledge, of protecting our ocean, of navigating towards a better future for our island home and Island Earth.
This, Hōkūleʻaʻs voyage home after circumnavigating the world, may be one of the most important landfalls to date, closing an amazing chapter in voyaging. Hundreds and thousands of people have worked tirelessly to bring us to this point, and after three years we are now on the eve of the completion of this Voyage. There were points along the way where we thought June 2017 seemed lifetimes away, and now that we are on this last leg it seems like it has flown by; whether time has moved fast or slow for us as crewmembers and supporters of this Voyage, one thing is for certain – we will miss it when it’s done. The friends and family from far away lands, the great laughs, the important lessons and the incredible time at sea are all present and on my mind right now, but most of all I can’t help but be humbled and thankful to Hōkūle’a for getting us “there” time and time again. I pray that she will guide us to our homeland once again.
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