Crew Blog | Kālepa Baybayan: Mahalo to Leg 23 Crew

Haverstraw Bay  – 41°13’0.24″N     73°58’4.59″W

Hōkūleʻa sits quietly tied to the end of a T-dock in the 1,000 slip Haverstraw Marina on the west bank of the Hudson River. Here we calmly lay at rest at the widest part of the Hudson – 3.4 miles across – 11 nautical miles south of the Tappan Zee Bridge and Bear Mountain, and 22 nautical miles north of the George Washington Bridge. The crew, canoe, and escort vessel have extended our stay at this port while awaiting the passage of Hurricane Matthew, a Category 4 hurricane of immense power whose track is predicted to bring it close to Long Island, New York.


There are many to thank for the tremendous opportunity afforded the members of Leg 23, where we took a circuitous route 853 nautical miles to the northern freshwater lakes of Oneida and Ontario of the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River, and transited 61 canal locks to learn about the cold water systems of our planet. We visited the border country of Canada and its two provinces of Ontario and Quebec, and toured upper New York state and Vermont. We were so blessed to be able to come to know our planet in a very intimate way, through the incredible kindness and generosity of the people and communities we were able to meet; of note, a special thanks to the communities of Khanawake and Westport, the lock masters of the Eerie, Chambly, and Champlain locks, and to the many people who brought gifts of food and friendship to the canoe and crew.


It has been a privilege and pleasure to serve as Captain of Leg 23. I send a much heartfelt mahalo to each of our crewmembers:

Leg 23

Keala Kimura, Captain Julies Cat
Art Harris, Navigator and Pilot
Haunani Kane, Watch Captain
Nakua Konohia-Lind, Watch Captain
Trissy Chun, Medical Officer
Sam Kapoi, Media Specialist
Kaʻai McAfee-Torco, Logistics Coordinator
Michi Wong, Educator
Keli Takenaga, Quarter Master/Cook
Kalau Spencer
Maleko Lorenzo
Waimea McKeague
Niko Powell

Ogdensburg to Montreal

Nainoa Thompson
Lehua Kamalu
Jenna Ishii

Westport to Haverstraw

Bob Perkins, Captain Julies Cat
Mark Ellis
Kekaimalu Lee
Kula Barbierto

Mahalo a nui loa,

Kālepa Baybayan
Captain, Hōkūleʻa

Help fund the Voyage as we sail the East Coast

Hōkūle‘a’s visit to the eastern United States is a historic milestone in her 40 years of voyaging.

Celebrate with us by pledging your support to the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage.

Crew Blog | Haunani Kane: Chazy Reef

As young ʻōiwi in this modern world, we are students in the traditional sense of our professors or mentors at the University. But we are also entrusted with the privilege and responsibility to learn from other great cultures and places across the world. Our kāpena (captain), Kālepa Baybayan, reminded us on this leg of the Worldwide Voyage that we as Hawaiians are amongst some of the youngest cultures on Earth. We have spent nearly a month traveling through lakes and rivers that were slowly unveiled as large masses of ice retreated thousands of years ago following the last Ice Age. The first people of this ʻāina like the Mohawk Nation used these same waterways for trade, transportation, and a source of food and medicinal resources.


We’ve also visited one of the oldest and most diverse fossil reefs in the world, which is found surprisingly on a small island in Lake Champlain, Vermont, further emphasizing that we as humans are just “a blink of an eye” when considering the age of not only mother Earth but all of the future generations of life that have yet to call these places home. On this Worldwide Voyage, Hōkūleʻa has visited both the largest modern living organism – the Great Barrier Reef – and the oldest fossil reef.


Approximately 480 million years ago when the Chazy Reef formed, the world was much different than what it is now. The Iapetus Ocean existed between 400-600 million years before present.The reef formed just south of the equator in the tropical Iapetus Sea during a time when CO2 levels were 10-15 times higher than present, sea-level was elevated, and there was very little ice or life on land.  The majority of life during this time was found in the ocean, and as a result the Chazy Reef is believed to have established a diverse environment encompassing over 1,000 miles.In comparison, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is approximately 1,400 miles. Over time the Chazy Reef migrated north as continents and ocean basins changed shape and size, eventually giving birth to the Atlantic Ocean and the North American continent.

It was completely mind blowing to see some of the first ancestors of the reefs we have back home in Hawaiʻi and encouraging to know that despite all of the changes the world has gone through, important remnants of the past continue to persist through time.

Help fund the Voyage as we sail the East Coast

Hōkūle‘a’s visit to the eastern United States is a historic milestone in her 40 years of voyaging.

Celebrate with us by pledging your support to the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage.

Worldwide Voyage | Our Ocean Conference

To Mālama Honua is to take care and protect all that makes up our planet. From the lands to the seas to perpetuating indigenous cultures across the globe, Hōkūleʻa’s historic Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage connects communities and countries through stories of hope and wisdom-utilizing these different perspectives as a guiding force to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges. Nainoa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and master navigator of Hōkūleʻa shared his vision of Mālama Honua at this year’s 2016 Our Ocean Conference, hosted by Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday, September 15, 2016.

With a special connection to the sea, Thompson was chosen to speak among prominent influencers and leaders to help explore and understand the importance of conserving the ocean. The Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage has been inspiring collective actions from different organizations around the world-many of which are starting in Hawaiʻi, as Governor David Ige announced Hawaiʻi’s commitment to manage 30 percent of Hawaiʻi’s nearshore waters by 2030 during the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress.

“It was an honor to provide a voice for Hawaii and the Pacific at this important conference focused on ocean protection,” said Nainoa Thompson, president, Polynesian Voyaging Society. “Being in the room and hearing the actions being taken by these great ‘navigators’ makes me hopeful that the world will get back on the right course with a sail plan for a sustainable ocean and future for our children.”

The ocean is a vital resource to sustain all life on Earth. The Our Ocean Conference brings together many of the world’s environmental activists, and higher-level government leaders to catalyze actions in order to protect our ocean from pollution, climate-related impacts, and unsustainable and illegal fishing.

Several speakers of the 2016 Our Ocean Conference included President of the United States, Barack Obama; Actor and Environmental Activists, Leonardo DiCaprio; and U.S. Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii-all who hope to empower and create a movement for generations to follow.

The 2016 Our Ocean Conference was held in Washington D.C.from September 15 to September 16, 2016.  

Help fund the Voyage as we sail the East Coast

Hōkūle‘a’s visit to the eastern United States is a historic milestone in her 40 years of voyaging.

Celebrate with us by pledging your support to the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage.

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Hōkūleʻa Update | Honoring Mohawk Language Leaders

As Hōkūle‘a continues forth on her Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, the crew and founding board members of ʻAha Pūnana Leo—a Native Hawaiian nonprofit dedicated to revitalizing the Hawaiian language for future generations in Hawaiʻi—honored a relationship that spans nearly 5,000 miles and 40 years of revolutionaries working together to revitalize and perpetuate the core of indigenous knowledge. Passing through the 34th lock to get to the upper Montreal area of the St. Lawrence river, Hōkūle‘a docked at her first Marina within a Native Reserve—the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake.


This gathering was yet another opportunity along this Worldwide Voyage to honor the collaborative work being done in native communities to keep indigenous knowledge alive and relevant to the world around us. Additionally, the crew of Hōkūle‘a, the founding members of ʻAha Pūnana Leo, and the Mohawk community hope to inspire and perpetuate native knowledge and language for generations to come.


Kauanoe Kamanā, founding board member and current president of ʻAha Pūnana Leo, addressed both groups in Hawaiian. “The connection between our work in language revitalization and the pursuits of our waʻa Hōkūleʻa, have to do with the fact that we set out with our work, prepared and with a strong resolve to succeeed as best as we can,” said Kamanā as translated in English. “But, we donʻt know what the result will be until we actually arrive.”


“Your work in the past had huge impact in Hawaiʻi, and the fact that you would allow us to bring our leaders up here, our pioneers, our courageous individuals, Pila Wilson, his wife Kauanoe, Nāmaka,” said Nainoa Thompson, Pwo navigator. “These are the ones that are changing the world and bringing back the language with your help,” Thompson added.

The Mohawk community is home to the immersion program whose leaders helped pave the way for Hawaiʻi’s immersion program in the early ʻ80’s. Dorothy Lazore was instrumental in establishing the Mohawk language immersion program in Kahnawake and spoke before Hawaiʻi’s Board of Education on the day that Hawaiʻi DOE’s immersion program was approved—a program that has become a model nationally and internationally.


“As you were telling us just how we helped you and how we were an inspiration for your people, and how our teachers went out to help you to revitalize what could have been lost in one generation or in two,” said Kanentokon Hemlock, Bear Clan Chief of the Kanonsonnionwe Long House. “It’s interesting because you inspire us.” “We look to you. We follow your inspiration too in all the work you have been doing in your land,” Hemlock shared.


During this monumental visit, crew members of Hōkūle‘a and Mohawk natives gathered at the Kanonsonnionwe Long House as they welcomed each other by exchanging gifts and songs in their native languages. Kālepa Baybayan, captain of Hōkūle‘a’s leg 23 of the Worldwide Voyage, presented Kanentokon Hemlock, Bear Clan Chief of the Kanonsonnionwe Long House, with a traditional Hawaiian feather or kahili.

“Working together like this—that is the key to our collective success! It is that kind of mindset, thinking not just about the individual, but thinking about all of us—us as an ʻohana,” said in Hawaiian by Kamanā.

Help fund the Voyage as we sail the East Coast

Hōkūle‘a’s visit to the eastern United States is a historic milestone in her 40 years of voyaging.

Celebrate with us by pledging your support to the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage.

Worldwide Voyage | Waʻa Talks in Year 3

Phone: (808) 305-9655

We are happy to announce the return of Waʻa Talks, now in Year 3!

Waʻa Talks is a teacher professional development activity, where interested educators meet to share learning activities inspired bythe Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage.

This first Waʻa Talks of the school year will be held at Farrington High School on Thursday, September 15, 2016 from 3 to 6 p.m.  This will be the first of several Waʻa Talks held this school year that will focus on the important “what next?” question in regards to sustaining the impact of the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage once Hōkūleʻa returns to Hawaiʻi in June 2017.  Amongst the topics discussed there will be new workshop opportunities in the PVS Canoe to Classroom initiative, which brings lessons learned from the deck of the canoe to life through links to lesson plan ideas and curriculum resources.waa-talks-flyer_fall2016

The last Waʻa Talks was held in April 2016 at Kaimukī High School, and marked the 2nd anniversary of this unique forum that was created as a way to engage teachers in conversations of learning and discovery relating to the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage.

In April 2014, a pilot Waʻa Talks was launched at Punahou School’s Kuaihelani Learning Center with a life-size replica of the deck of Hōkūleʻa as a backdrop to a panel of motivated teachers sharing their ideas and successes in developing waʻa-based and waʻa-related lessons for learners of all ages and schools.  The energy and excitement at this first Waʻa Talks was tangible, and has become characteristic of all Waʻa Talks since.

At that first gathering at Punahou, it was clear that the topics would include not just waʻa and voyaging, but would encompass broader themes of sustainability, from ma uka to ma kai, from energy use to stream biodiversity, in Hawaiʻi and beyond.  Regardless of the diversity of topics at each Waʻa Talks, one thing has remained constant: the catalyzing force of the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage and its ability to bring a diversity of teachers, crew-members, practitioners, and education specialists together to support the mission of the Voyage, which is now into its fourth and final year.

Since Waʻa Talks’ inception in 2014 through the last event at Kaimukī High School, the forum has tried to remain true to its vision of being “community grounded and globally connected.” This has been reflected in its diverse locations, from K-12 public and independent schools, to piers and wharfs, and to maritime centers.

Crewmember Catherine Fuller gives a Mālama Honua presentation to community members at the Seacoast Science Center in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

The vision of being globally connected has been captured in the frequent use of Google Hangouts to bring in educators from all parts of the world to participate and present, and has allowed Waʻa Talks participants to speak and pose questions to Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia crew members in far-away ports of call.  Technology has also allowed for education specialists and teachers in Tahiti, French Polynesia to join Waʻa Talks remotely.

For the final year of the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, Waʻa Talks will be held at Farrington High School, Waiʻalae Charter School, and ʻIolani School. Although no two Waʻa Talks are alike, all share a common feature of positioning education and educators as a critical force in extending the practice of Mālama Honua from waʻa to  community. Register to attend all Waʻa Talks at

Help fund the Voyage as we sail the East Coast

Hōkūle‘a’s visit to the eastern United States is a historic milestone in her 40 years of voyaging.

Celebrate with us by pledging your support to the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage.

Continue Reading

Eō Nāmāhoe!

Nāmāhoe, Kauaʻi’s first traditional voyaging canoe, made her inaugural launch into the waters of Nawiliwili Bay at high noon on Saturday, September 10, 2016.  The historic birth of the canoe is the culmination of more than 20 years of work by Kauai’s voyaging group Nā Kālai Waʻa o Kauaʻi under the leadership of John Kruse, Dennis Chun and the late Dr. Patrick Aiu.  The Kauaʻi community joined by voyagers and supporters from though out Hawaiʻi and the Pacific celebrated Nāmāhoe’s launch with festivities held today at the Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club.


With the birth of Nāmāhoe, which means Gemini, the guiding constellation from Oʻahu to Kauaʻi, there are now eight traditional voyaging canoes in Hawaii.  According to Kruse, Nāmāhoe may be the first voyaging canoe launched from Kauaʻi in close to 600 years.  At 72-feet long, the canoe is also the largest in the Hawaiian islands.


“Nāmāhoe already holds so much mana from the many hands in the community that helped to build her over the last 20 years,” said Chun.  “The community on Kauaʻi needs to have its own voyaging canoe to help perpetuate the culture and values of our ancestors and to provide educational opportunities for our young people.”


“I commend John, Dennis and the late Dr. Aiu for their vision and years of extraordinary dedication to building a voyaging canoe for Kauaʻi and its people,” said Nainoa Thompson, president, Polynesian Voyaging Society.  “To see there are now eight voyaging canoes in Hawaiian waters since Hōkūleʻa was born 41 years ago shows that the people of Hawaiʻi share a desire to protect our past and our most cherished values,” he said.

 All former crewmembers of Hōkūleʻa, Kruse, Chun and Aiu were first inspired to build a canoe for Kauaʻi back in 1995, after the construction of Makaliʻi on Hawaii Island.

Help fund the Voyage as we sail the East Coast

Hōkūle‘a’s visit to the eastern United States is a historic milestone in her 40 years of voyaging.

Celebrate with us by pledging your support to the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage.

Worldwide Voyage | Voices of the Pacific

While Hōkūleʻa circumnavigates the world to share and learn about mālama honua, conservationist from near and far gathered in Hawaiʻi to discuss this very concept of caring for our island earth at the World Conservation Congress hosted by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.


Director-General of IUCN, Inger Andersent explained, “The voyage that is going on right now that Nainoa Thompson and other master navigators are leading is very, very critical to the whole message around conservation, around the imperative of protecting the earth. When you voyage around by the stars bearing witness, engaging communities –how important is that to get the message out that as Nainoa says: ‘The sail plan has to change, we have to draw a new map. And that map has to be one of understanding, one of protection, one of conservation, one of peace, one of non-conflict and one of brother and sisterhood.’ That’s the story of the voyagers and that’s very much the story of the IUCN Conservation Congress as well.”


Prior to the official opening ceremony, dignitaries from across the Pacific gathered for the Moana Pasifika Vaka Arrival ceremony where our Pacific cousins presented a piece of their home to the people of Hawaiʻi.


“This morning we had a wonderful, wonderful ceremony, we had Governor Ige and the people of Hawaiʻi welcoming our pacific leaders with one vaka coming into land, with the Pacific islanders asking for permission to come here and with Hawaiian traditional culture and traditional ceremony granting permission,” said Andersen. “Why does this matter? It matters because at IUCN the International Union for the Conservation of Nature we are bringing the World Congress, the IUCN World Congress to Hawaiʻi, to bear witness and to take action on environmental issue, and the oceans are critical.”


Nainoa Thompson, President of the Polynesian Voyaging Society said, “What you are seeing here in the sands of Hawaii is the change in conversation. No longer can the power of conservation just talk to itself, it has to marry with indigenous knowledge, with indigenous people. So the reason why it’s so important that the Pacific leaders are here, is because if you want to protect the earth, if you want to protect biodiversity, if you want to protect wildlife, if you want to kind of have some way to adapt to climate change, you got to protect the ocean, it’s prerequisite to all of those things. You can’t do it without protecting the oceans, who better to do that than Pacific Islanders cause they know. They know their ancestry, they know their genealogy, they know their history and tenure and they see change, they know something is terribly wrong and they have such an enormous set of responsibilities of protecting the earth by protecting the oceans around them.”


The conversation continued at the Pacific Ocean Summit, where leaders discussed unique challenges they are facing in their island homes.


Pwo Navigator from Rarotonga, Tua Pittman said, “Rather than just concentrate on what’s happening in Europe and Asia, and all these other countries. We really needed the Pacific Island leaders to come together and talk about the solutions for ourselves, rather than get swallowed up in the bigger picture of IUCN and the conservation congress. So the Pacific Island Summit is all about us and what we are going to do, to make things better for ourselves.


“The people here at IUCN are from all throughout Europe and Asia, the Americas. And for a lot of them they have never experienced a Pacific Island Culture. So, we had to standup for the rest of our people and show them that we do have a culture that’s very powerful, very much entrenched in environmental issues, conservation, the lāhui, all these things we’ve had our ancestors were doing this a long long time ago.  But unfortunately over the years we have been overwhelmed by Western culture, but in our day, in the old day, we did have a form of, of conservation and environmental care, ocean care, that we need to go back, re-learn and adapt it to this day and age, and that’s what’s happening now throughout the Pacific. A lot of the pacific island leaders are actually sharing some of the progress that we are making in reconnecting to the old ways,” said Pittman.


“For us as a Pacific people, our take away from this is to hear what the other countries are doing wrong. We take for granted what we have in our environment and then you see what is happening in all these other countries and how they are releasing so much carbon dioxide into the oceans that we live in, they don’t live in it. And so we have to make a noise we have to let them know that we do have a concern because if we don’t show a concern and put our hands up or move as one united people, they are never going to hear about us at all, and our islands will just disappear as they are already. So, this is a beautiful thing for Hawaiʻi, beautiful thing for the Pacific that we are able to have the IUCN Congress here.  You know it’s the first time it has been held in the United States and they brought it here,” said Pittman.

Help fund the Voyage as we sail the East Coast

Hōkūle‘a’s visit to the eastern United States is a historic milestone in her 40 years of voyaging.

Celebrate with us by pledging your support to the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage.

Crew Blog | Michi Wong: We Alter the Earth

On August 25, 2016, the crew embarked on a land excursion, snaking north along the Hudson River through the small riverbank towns of New Jersey. We trekked under the George Washington Bridge, over the state line, and across the Mid-Hudson Bridge headed for Poughkeepsie, NY. The sail plan for Leg 23 of the Worldwide Voyage has been evolving day by day. En route, we stop to inspect possible places to dock Hōkūleʻa. At Castletown and Hyde Park marinas, we could see that the canoe would be battered against the dock by the wind, river currents, swells and wakes. We eventually find safe harbor at Shadows at Waterford.


Early evening is upon us when we finally arrive at Federal Lock#1. It is the first of five in the Waterford Flight of Locks of the Erie Canal. This series provides the greatest lift in the shortest distance amongst the canals in the U.S. Lock#1 is shut down so we move on to Lock #2. There Captain Kālepa speaks to the crew about the dangers of Leg 23. First is collision due to commercial traffic and leisure craft on the Hudson. The second is entering and exiting the locks. At Lock #2, the water will rise 33 feet in 10 minutes. The crew will secure Hōkūleʻa by bow and stern lines ties to ropes that vertically line the concrete walls of the locks. The third is weather. The crew is to keep the wa’a to the weather side. And of course, we will be alert to man overboard and fire.

Two centuries ago, the Erie Canal was deemed impossible. In 1823, barges for commerce and human transport were pulled by mules trudging along the canal banks. The lock system of today was designed by U.S. civil engineers and opened in 1915.  Our sail plan for Leg 23 in 2016, is to complete 33 locks in 4 days. Hōkūleʻa will reach Rome by up locking for 128 meters with a water rise of 420 feet. Downlocking from Rome to Lake Ontario is 53 meters with a water level descent of 174 feet. Captain Kālepa informed us that Hōkūleʻa is considered a “barge” and therefore canal fees are waived.


Today, we ready the wa’a for 3am crew call tomorrow as our voyage continues. 

Help fund the Voyage as we sail the East Coast

Hōkūle‘a’s visit to the eastern United States is a historic milestone in her 40 years of voyaging.

Celebrate with us by pledging your support to the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage.