Hikianalia, sister canoe to the legendary voyaging vessel Hōkūleʻa, sailed into Honolulu on Tuesday after traveling across the Pacific Ocean for over a year. The crewmembers most recently left Papeʻete in French Polynesia and were at sea for nearly a month before spotting lights from Hawaiʻi Island on Saturday evening, recognizing the distinguishable light house at Kumukahi,the easternmost point of all the Hawaiian islands. Hikianalia docked at Sand Island after 5:00 p.m yesterday.
“I feel relieved, not so much for me but for the navigators. We had three apprentice navigators onboard and they were up against it. They’re the ones that had to make sure we got home. I’m very much impressed by them,” stated Bob Perkins, captain of the voyage. “They’re really, really good people. They’re dedicated, they’re serious; they had to stay up for 48 hours at a time.” Perkins described how the canoe traveled 2,700 miles with no instruments and clouds concealing guiding stars half the time during the trip, leaving the apprentice navigators to rely on ocean swells and close communication with each other.
Young navigators Austin Kino, Jason Patterson, and Kekaimalu Lee, all in their twenties, were supported by lead navigator Cat Fuller and the rest of the crewmembers to bring Hikianalia home. Hundreds of people including the crew’s families, friends and supporters waited on the Marine Education and Training Center’s (METC) Sand Island dock on Tuesday afternoon for the canoe’s arrival. The crewmembers were greeted with hugs, lei, chants, and a potluck dinner.
Hikianalia returns home to Hawaiʻi to bring the education promise of the voyage back to her local community. Hikianalia will sail throughout the state, hosted by the leaders of the ohana waa (voyaging community) on each neighbor island, to provide experiential learning opportunities to teachers and students over the course of the next year. Hikianalia will then sail the west coast of the United States, as far north as Alaska, before reuniting withHōkūleʻa in South America to finish the worldwide voyage together.
The Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines, began in Hawaiʻi in 2013 and will cover over 60,000 nautical miles, 100 ports, and 27 nations, including 12 of UNESCO’s Marine World Heritage sites, through June 2017. The voyage seeks to engage all of Island Earth – practicing how to live sustainably while sharing Polynesian culture, learning from the past and from each other, creating global relationships, and discovering the wonders of the precious place we call home.