Hōkūleʻa has made her first touch on the U.S. Mainland at Everglades National Park to pay homage to nature, the National Park Service and the area’s indigenous people. Arriving at Everglades National Park on Saturday morning at 7:30 a.m. (EST); 1:00 a.m. (HST), the Hōkūleʻa crew were welcomed by The Council of the Original Miccosukee Simanolee Nation Aboriginal Peoples in a sacred ceremony honoring the Voyage. Following this sacred ceremony, The Seminole Tribe of Florida and the Everglades National Park Service hosted a welcoming ceremony at the Gulf Coast Visitor Center, where the public was invited to meet the crew and learn about the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage.
“We thought it would be most appropriate to have Hōkūleʻa’s arrival into the U.S. mainland take place where we could honor and pay respect to the area’s native people and to our National Park Service,” said Nainoa Thompson, pwo navigator and president of Polynesian Voyaging Society. “This arrival represents two key pillars of our voyage, which are to connect with other indigenous cultures and to discover the efforts of our environmental mission partners such as the National Park Service, which is celebrating its Centennial,” he added.
Everglades National Park is a public park for the benefit of the people. It is set aside as a permanent wilderness preserving essential primitive conditions including the natural abundance, diversity, behavior, and ecological integrity of the unique flora and fauna. The park is visited on average by one million people each year. It is the third-largest national park in the lower 48 states after Death Valley and Yellowstone. It has been designated an International Biosphere Reserve, a World Heritage Site and Wetland of International Importance.
Hōkūleʻa sailed to Everglades National Park from Key West, FL where she entered the U.S. on March 23, 2016, after two years of sailing around the globe. The canoe departed Key West on March 25, 2015 to set sail for the Everglades. Her next destination after Everglades National Park is Fort Meyers, FL.
From Fort Meyers, Hōkūleʻa will cross the Florida peninsular via the Okeechobee Waterway to the eastern coast of the state where the crew will honor the late Lacy Veach at Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral 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.
More than Adventure
Beyond a daring expedition, the Worldwide Voyage is quite possibly the most important mission that Hawaiʻi has ever attempted. As people of Oceania, we are leading a campaign that gives voice to our ocean and planet by highlighting innovative solutions practiced by cultures around the planet.
We could not have begun this great journey without your support, nor can we continue to its completion.
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