PVS to Launch Training Voyage to Papahānaumokuākea

  • Posted on 17 Jun 2021
  • In News

Young Navigators to be Tested

Voyaging canoes Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia will set sail again tomorrow at approximately
12:30 pm for a two-week training voyage to Papahānaumokuākea. Themed “Navigating
the Kupuna Islands,” the voyage will bring the canoes to Nihoa, Mokumanamana and
Lalo (French Frigate Shoals) and will focus on the voyaging, cultural and ecological
significance of these places.

“These precious islands are a school that holds lessons for all of humanity and the earth
and our canoes are the classrooms,” said Nainoa Thompson, Pwo Navigator and
President of the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS). “Because they are so rare and
special, these islands will help us learn how to behave in the sacredness of nature. The
crew will learn about the cultural and environmental importance of this Marine National
Monument, which is one of the largest marine conservation areas in the world,” he
added.

The training voyage will test six young navigators on five challenging deep-sea legs:

Leg 1 — Kaʻena Point to Kauaʻi
Leg 2 — Niʻihau to Nihoa
Leg 3 — Nihoa to Mokumanamana (The most challenging navigational test, comparable
to finding an island about two-thirds the size of Manana (Rabbit Island) from Kona with
no land in between.)
Leg 4 — Mokumanamana to Lalo
Leg 5 — Nihoa to Kaʻula

PVS is partnering with NOAA on this voyage to do an underwater survey of Lalo to
assess the damage to the atoll and coral reef from Category 3 Hurricane Walaka that
swept through in 2018. The visit will allow the crew to understand the impacts of
climate change and how nature has the capacity to renew and heal itself if humanity
leaves it alone, as Thompson says the Kupuna Islands of Papahanaumokuakea are
home to the standard for what coral reefs are supposed to be, in terms of health. They
also will identify areas with large amounts of marine debris.

“Papahānaumokuākea is one of the greatest natural laboratories in the world” said
Randy Kosaki, NOAA’s Research Coordinator for Papahānaumokuākea and Hōkūleʻa
Crewmember. “The lessons we learn here will help us to better mālama the coral reefs
of our inhabited main Hawaiian Islands. The highest and best uses of these islands
also include perpetuation of Native Hawaiian culture by training the next generation of
navigators and environmental stewards.”

The “Navigating the Kupuna Islands” Training Voyage is the second in a series of
deep-sea training sails to prepare crew for the Moananuiākea Voyage, a
circumnavigation of the Pacific scheduled to launch in May 2022. The 42-month,
41,000 mile journey will cover 46 countries and archipelagoes, nearly 100 indigenous
territories and 345 ports. Focused on the vital importance of oceans, nature and
indigenous knowledge, the goal of the Moananuiākea Voyage is to develop 10 million
new crew members, navigators and leaders for the planet.

About Polynesian Voyaging Society

The Polynesian Voyaging Society was founded in 1973 on a legacy of Pacific Ocean
exploration, seeking to perpetuate the art and science of traditional Polynesian voyaging
and the spirit of exploration through experiential educational programs that inspire
students and their communities to respect and care for themselves, one another, and
their natural and cultural environments. For more information about the Polynesian
Voyaging Society and the Worldwide Voyage, visit www.hokulea.com or find us on
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

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