Voyage Update | Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia Return to Oʻahu

Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia return to Oʻahu after a two-week training voyage. The next training voyage will be to Papahānaumokuākea in mid-June.

(Honolulu, HI) — The Polynesian Voyaging Society’s (PVS) two traditional Polynesian canoes returned to Oʻahu early yesterday morning after a two-week training voyage to prepare for next year’s Moananuiākea Voyage, a circumnavigation of the Pacific.  Hikianalia arrived at the Marine Education Training Center at Sand Island at 4:30 am followed by Hōkūleʻa at 5:30 am.

Photo Credit: Philamer Felicitas

The original sail plan was for the crew to sail to the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (the doldrums), located approximately five degrees north of the equator.  The canoes, however, were delayed for nine days off Lahaina, Maui due to dangerous conditions in the ʻAlenuihāhā Channel.  Despite the altered schedule, the crew continued their robust training focused on traditional navigation, safety, leadership, and respect for community, place and nature.  The training voyage also provided an opportunity to test the newly-refurbished vessels in strong winds and rough waters.

Once the weather cleared and the canoes were able to depart Lāhainā on May 22, they crossed the Alenuihaha Channel, which is considered the second roughest channel in the world, and then headed to Keauhou on Hawaiʻi Island.  From Keauhou, they sailed to Kalae (South Point) and then into Moananuiākea, about 100 nautical miles south of Hawaiʻi Island.

“Although our intent was to take the crew into the storm of the doldrums, mother nature had other plans.  We still had a robust training nonetheless and we still hit Moananuiākea,” said PVS president and Pwo navigator Nainoa Thompson. “There have been many gifts of learning that we never ever imagined, because we were forced to change.  It’s been a spectacular training program,” he added.

The crew on Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia were a mix of senior voyagers and  new crew members.  On this training voyage, they received about 900 miles of training and crossed seven of the nine major channels (5 of them twice) in the lower eight Hawaiian islands.  PVS’s goal is to have 120 new crew trained by the end of the summer in preparation for next year’s Moananuiākea Voyage, a circumnavigation of the Pacific.

Planning is underway for the next training voyage, which will be to Papahānaumokuākea in mid-June (weather-permitting).

Photo Credit: Philamer Felicitas
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Voyage Update | Canoes Sail into Moananuiākea and Back to Hawaiʻi Island

Navigators in training sail voyaging canoes into Moananuiākea and back to Hawaiʻi Island.

Extensive navigation and crew training continues for the crew of Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia.  Last night, apprentice navigator Tamiko Fernelius guided the canoes from Hawaiʻi Island’s Kalae, or South Point, and into Moananuiākea, the deep region of the Pacific Ocean.  After sailing south for approximately 100 nautical miles at 10:00 pm, the canoes turned around to sail back to Hawai‘i Island, which they sighted this morning at 8:00 am.

The canoes are currently sailing towards Kona and may cross the Alenuihaha Channel tonight or tomorrow morning.  They will make a brief stop in Lahaina before crossing the Kaiwi Channel and then expect to return to Sand Island, Oʻahu early Friday morning weather permitting.

About Apprentice Navigator Tamiko Fernelius:

Tamiko is originally from Okinawa. She and her husband were living in Minnesota when she read about Hōkūleʻa and became inspired by its mission to connect people with nature.  After convincing her husband to move to Hawaiʻi, she immediately became a PVS volunteer who has spent many hours sanding and caring for the canoe.  Tamiko crewed several legs of the Worldwide Voyage as a sail master, quarter master and cook and has since been studying navigation.  Her dream is to one day return to Okinawa and start a navigation school to help revive the seafaring history of her home and culture.

Track the canoes live at https://www.hokulea.com/waamoana/hokulea-live/.

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Voyage Update | Canoes Sail South of Hawaiʻi Island

Voyaging canoes sail south of Hawaiʻi Island and continue training in Kealaikahiki

(Moananuiākea) — The crew of Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia spent the day sailing from Kalae, or South Point, down Kealaikahiki (the ancient sea road that connects Hawai‘i with its ancestral homeland of Tahiti) and into Moananuiākea – the deep region of the Pacific Ocean.  As of 8:00 pm (HST) this evening, the canoes were approximately 70 miles south of Hawai‘i Island.

Due to the weather delay in Maui, the canoes will not be able to reach the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (the doldrums) as originally planned, however, sailing into Moananuiākea will give the young crew the experience of sailing in the deep, open ocean.  The canoes are tentatively scheduled to return to Oʻahu by this Thursday evening or Friday morning.

“It’s been a great voyage. It’s tested us. It’s forced us to navigate change given Mother Nature wouldn’t open the gateway to the Alenuihaha Channel because it was too rough,” said PVS president and Pwo navigator Nainoa Thompson.  “There have been many gifts of learning that we never ever imagined, because we were forced to change.  It’s been a spectacular training program,” he added.

Track the canoes live at https://www.hokulea.com/waamoana/hokulea-live/.

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Voyage Update | Canoes Make Brief Stop Off Keauhou

Canoes depart Maui and make brief stop off Keauhou to pick up ashes of Pwo Navigator Kalepa Baybayan.

After a nine-day weather delay in Maui, Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia departed Lāhainā on Saturday, May 22, 2021 at approximately 11 pm, to continue the training sail in preparation for next year’s Moananuiākea Voyage, a circumnavigation of the Pacific.  Mother nature allowed for good and safe sailing across the notoriously dangerous ʻAlenuihāhā Channel, arriving offshore of Hawai’i Island by 10 am. The canoes sailed to Keauhou, arriving at about 5:45 pm this evening and having sailed approximately 100 miles since leaving Lahaina.

The crew made a brief stop off Keauhou to receive the ashes of pwo navigator Chad Kalepa Baybayan who passed away last month.  According to Pwo Navigator Nainoa Thompson, Baybayan will be the twelfth crew member on board Hōkūleʻa for the training voyage to Moananuiākea.

“We are going to Keauhou to pick up a friend…to pick up someone that was on this canoe starting in 1977 that has 44 years and 100,000 miles,” said Thompson.  “His name is Captain, Pwo Navigator, Kalepa Baybayan.”

From Keauhou, the canoes are sailing to Kalae, or South Point, then down Kealaikahiki (the ancient sea road that connects Hawai‘i with its ancestral homeland of Tahiti) into Moananuiākea – the deep region of the Pacific Ocean.  The canoes are tentatively scheduled to return to Oʻahu by May 28.

Upon their return, the crew will have received 900 miles of training, crossed seven of the nine major channels (five of them twice) in the lower eight Hawaiian islands.  PVS’s goal is to have 120 new crew trained by the end of the summer in preparation for next year’s Moananuiākea Voyage, a circumnavigation of the Pacific.

Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia were moored off of Lahaina, Maui, since Thursday, May 13, the morning after departing Honolulu for the training voyage. 

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Voyage Update | Wa’a to Depart Maui

After more than a week delay in Maui due to dangerous conditions in the ʻAlenuihāhā Channel, weather conditions have improved and Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia are expected to depart from Lahaina at 11 pm tonight.  Despite the delay, this voyage’s mission was intact as senior crew spent each day training new voyagers on safety and sailing through the storm, with lessons also focused on leadership, values, respect for community, place and nature.  At the same time, because of the significant delay, they can no longer sail to the doldrums as planned in order to honor commitments made to the families of crew.  They will still depart the Hawaiian Islands down the ancient sea road of Kealaikahiki, a heritage corridor that connects Hawai‘i with its ancestral homeland of Tahiti, and voyage into the cold, dark, deep region of the Pacific Ocean known as Moananuiākea.

“Nature is opening the gateway to go.  The crew has been patient.  It’s time to go,” said Nainoa Thompson, Pwo Navigator and Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) President.  “Although our intent was to take the crew into the storm of the doldrums, mother nature had other plans.  We still had a robust training nonetheless, we’ll still hit Moananuiākea, and now the final exam for this crew will be crossing the ʻAlenuihāhā at night (upon their return), the second roughest channel in the world,” he added.

The canoes will sail tonight to Kamanamana, the southeastern point of Maui, then just before dawn begin crossing the Alenuihāhā Channel, which is expected to take five to six hours, and head to Keauhou on Hawaiʻi Island.  From Keauhou, they will sail to Kalae, or South Point, then into Moananuiākea.  The canoes are tentatively scheduled to return to Oʻahu by May 28.

Upon their return, the crew will have received 900 miles of training, crossed seven of the nine major channels (5 of them twice) in the lower eight Hawaiian islands.  PVS’s goal is to have 120 new crew trained by the end of the summer in preparation for next year’s Moananuiākea Voyage, a circumnavigation of the Pacific.

Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia have been moored off of Lahaina, Maui, since Thursday, May 13, the morning after departing Honolulu for a training voyage to the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), the area of the Pacific Ocean known as “the doldrums.” 

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Crew Blog | Patrick Karjala: Safety First

As part of our duties as escort vessel for the Hōkūle’a we have an on-board doctor who is responsible for the health of our crews.  Many things can go wrong at sea, and if they do, we need to be able to transport the doctor from Hikianalia to Hōkūle’a.

Hikianalia carries an inflatable pontoon raft for this exact purpose. Once inflated, it can be deployed alongside the wa’a.  Hōkūle’a deploys a tow line which is captured by by the crew of Hikianalia, and then attached to the inflatable raft.  At this point, the doctor and two safety swimmers board the raft.  Hōkūle’a’s crew is notified, and the raft is pulled back to Hōkūle’a via the tow line.

We practiced this entire process today, from start to finish, to ensure every step of the way went safely and correctly.  It took only about 20 minutes!  After we finished, the safety crew transported the boat back to Hikianalia, where it was rinsed off and hung to dry on the front of the vessel before it was deflated and returned to its storage.

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Voyage Update | Sailing Pailolo Channel

High winds and dangerous conditions in the ʻAlenuihāhā Channel may delay Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia’s departure from Lahaina until the weekend when crew, who are watching the weather closely, anticipate a possible window by Sunday.  Until then, they have been training in the Pailolo Channel, between Maui and Molokaʻi.

“Right now it’s just too windy to cross the second roughest channel (ʻAlenuihāhā) in the world so we’re not just standing by, we’re training. And that’s why we’re here: to get young people ready for the storms of tomorrow,” said Nainoa Thompson, Pwo navigator and president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society.

“We’re not waiting. We’re training. We’re doing work every day to get young people ready for the storm. I didn’t want them to go right into the storm. I wanted them to go down to the convergence zone by the equator and to get them like a week of sea time before they go into the storm, but that’s not happening.  So we are now training to get them ready to go when nature tells us to go.  Departure time is not what’s defined on the calendar. It’s what nature says to us. It gives us the permission to leave,” added Thompson. 

Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia have been moored off of Lahaina, Maui, since Thursday, May 13, the morning after departing Honolulu for a training voyage to the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), the area of the Pacific Ocean known as “the doldrums.”

Candido (Kaiya) Manatad IV from Waiāhole, Oʻahu shares his experience on today’s training in the Pailolo Channel.

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Crew Blog | Patrick Karjala: Mālama the Waʻa

Written by Patrick Karjala

We made landfall to Lahaina on Maui on Thursday, May 13 at about 3:20 AM after a fairly rough crossing from Oahu through the Kaiwi Channel.  During the crossing, we were continually swamped with rough waves splashing over the bow of the boat; fortunately Hikianalia is well built to handle these kinds of seas.  It was the first major crossing for our newest crew!

After we tied up to our mooring, the sun rose over the west Maui mountains, shining down into Lahaina town.  Sun shade was hoisted as we had breakfast of eggs and Portuguese sausage.  We set down a ladder and crew took turns taking a swim to cool off in the midday heat, and clean off.  Work was also done to mālama the wa’a; a new strap and pad for the hoe were constructed to hold it out of the water when not in use, as the existing line was frayed and falling apart.  Hatch lid stands were repaired to hold the hatches partway open for better airflow.  We have to continually perform upkeep on our wa’a.  We take care of her so that she can take care of us.

Hōkūle’a Safety Officer Archie Kalepa went up to his cabin on the southern slope of Haleakalā.  From there, he could see the channel of ʻAlenuihāhā. The whitecaps and trailing surf was visible from miles away, showing just how dangerous the channel is when the winds are strong; if it is visible from that far, then it must be absolutely huge up close.  Due to this, the decision was made to postpone the crossing to Hawai’i island for the time being.  Safety is always the most important part of life on the wa’a.

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