After spending several months sailing up and then down the East Coast of the US, Hōkūleʻa left US waters in Key West, Florida headed to the Panama Canal. The crew spent Christmas and New Years in the Caribbean, sailing to the west of Cuba on their way south. In Panama, the crew will engage with local communities in marine activities. The canoe will transit through the Panama Canal, entering the Pacific after nearly 18 months of voyaging in other oceans.
- Chris Huerbsch, president of the paddle club, CREBA, was one of Hōkūleʻa's generous hosts in Panamá. He delivered this moving speech to Hōkūleʻa crew and others on January 15, 2017.
- Hōkūleʻa's visit to Panamá was chock full of activity spotlighting ocean and indigenous connections.