2015 South Africa
ForHōkūleʻa crewmembers on the 15th leg of the Worldwide Voyage, South Africa marked the most ambitious leg of the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage yet. From her home in Hawai’i to her first port of call in Richards Bay, Hōkūleʻa voyaged 10,000 nautical miles (19,000 kilometers). This historic occasion was the first time Hōkūleʻa and the Polynesian Voyaging Society touched the African Continent.
Almost halfway around the world from their home port, Hōkūleʻa and her crew were looking to Africa, the cradle of civilization, for indigenous and local wisdom to further the message of global connectedness, sustainability, and to help create a future that includes healthy oceans.
Mālama honua, the guiding value of the voyage, in Hawaiian means “caring for island earth.” It is a message similar to South African ubuntu philosophy of community and caring. When Hōkūkeʻa stopped at Richards Bay in October, and Cape Town in November, her crew were searching for local examples of mālama honua and sharing these stories of hope with communities around the world.
Navigating this leg of the voyage was not without challenges: the unpredictable and sometimes dangerous Indian Ocean was new for the crew.
“The Indian Ocean is different than the Pacific Ocean,” said Nainoa Thompson , president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society. He was also captain and pwo (master) navigator for this leg. “The Indian Ocean… has two hurricane seasons, two monsoon seasons and a high incidence of rogue waves as we go around the African coast. So it’s a place where you have to be careful, pay attention, and you can sail well… Let’s go find Africa.”