Blog | Kekaimalu Lee: Ka Ho’omākaukau ʻAna

Aloha kākou,

Wahi a kūpuna, i ka moana nō ka iʻa, liuliu ʻia nā pono lawaiʻa. ʻO kēia ʻōlelo, he hoʻomaopopo ia no ka pono e mākaukau i nā manawa a pau. A he mea kūpono nō hoʻi kēia ʻōlelo no nā holokai ma Hōkūleʻa me Hikianalia. Ke hōʻea mai ka wā, pono e mākaukau. A ma mua o ka holo ʻana ma ke kai lipolipo, ua nui ka hoʻomākaukau ʻana.

Ua halihali mākou i nā mea ʻai a me nā ʻōmole wai a hoʻouka ʻia ma luna o Hōkūleʻa lāua ʻo Hikianalia. No mākou iho, ua hoʻouka ʻia ko mākou mau ukana, a ua hoʻomākaukau ʻia ko mākou poʻe wahi moena.

Ma mua o ka halihali ukana ʻana, ua hoʻomaʻamaʻa mākou i ka holo ʻana ma ka waʻa. Hoʻouka mākou i nā peʻa, nā kaula, me nā lako ʻē aʻe a pau e holo pono ai ka waʻa. Ua hoʻomākaukau pū nā hoʻokele ma ka nānā a hoʻopaʻanaʻau ʻana i ka holo ʻana o ka lā, ka mahina, nā hōkū me ka loli ʻana o ke anilā.

Ua nui nā ʻano mea e hoʻomākaukau ai no ka holo moana ʻana. Akā naʻe, ʻo ka mea nui o ka hoʻomākaukau ʻana no kēia māhele o Ka Huakaʻi Holo Puni Honua, ʻo Mālama Honua hoʻi, ʻo ia ka hui like ʻana o kēlā me kēia holokai pākahi i hoʻokahi hui ʻohana waʻa. Oli a hīmeni pū mākou, ʻai pū mākou a mālama mākou kekahi i kekahi.

Mahalo no kou heluhelu ʻana i kēia moʻolelo a manaʻo pōkole. E hoʻomau nō i ka holo ʻana me mākou ma

 I ka moana no ka iʻa, liuliu ʻia na pono lawaiʻa
While the fish is still in the sea, get your gear ready
Be prepared.

Aloha everyone,

The ʻōlelo noʻeau, or Hawaiian proverb above reminds me a lot about the moments leading up to this next leg in the Worldwide Voyage. This saying is a reminder to always be prepared. When the time arises, we should always be ready. That is exactly what we, Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia crewmembers, did before leaving on this journey.

Before we sail on the deep blue sea, there is much to prepare. We loaded all of the food and water containers on to Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia. We loaded all of our individual gear and personal items, and made sure to set up our bunks for the long journey ahead.

Before departure, we did lots of training for life at sea by practicing with the sails and lines and checking all our safety equipment to ensure a successful voyage. The navigators prepared by watching and even memorizing the movement of the sun, the moon, the stars, and the weather.

There are a lot of things that need to be done in order to be ready for a voyage. However, the most important thing in preparing for this leg of the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage is coming together as one crew. We chant and sing together, we eat together, and we take care of each other.

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Blog | Cat Fuller: Getting Out of the Boxes

Some time ago at crew training, we were asked if anyone was willing to go to Pago Pago, Samoa, early, as most of the previous leg’s crews would be departing, leaving only a few who would carry over to the next leg. Those who went had to be willing to conduct educational outreach as well as to put in hours preparing the canoes to sail on to Tonga.

One of the biggest tasks to be handled by the interim crew was to pack the new food shipment into the meal boxes for both Hikianalia and Hōkūleʻa.  The drawback to all this was that dengue fever and chikungunya, both mosquito borne illnesses, were on the rise, and going early meant a greater exposure period.  Lita Blankenfeld, the “food boss,” pulled me aside and said, “Cat, sorry about the mosquitoes, but you HAVE to go.”  I’d worked with Lita on prepping and loading food for the last couple major voyages, so I would be able to contribute to that process as well as to outreach. I was fortunate enough to be able to take leave from my job as a teacher at ‘Iolani School for this leg of the voyage, so I agreed to go, along with two other crew members, Kekaimalu Lee and Mahina Hou Ross.


My other purpose in coming early was to be able to study the southern sky, as one of my kuleana on Hikianalia is to be a navigation teacher for eight apprentices.  I’d been studying with other members of our crew as well as the navigators for Hōkūleʻa, Ka’iulani Murphy and Kaleo Wong.  I thought that this would give me a head start in being ready for the voyage.  What I didn’t expect was a navigation of another kind – through a sea of food.

The three of us arrived on September 29th, the day the last of the previous crew departed.  The remaining crew members, Keli Takenaga, Nikki Kamalu, Saki Uchida and Ryan Hanohano, had been in Pago Pago since September 16th, and were looking forward to the new crew arriving, because that meant they would be able to move on soon.  That isn’t to say that they didn’t enjoy being here – in fact, it was quite the opposite – but land time brings complexities that don’t exist at sea.

My priority was, of course, the food.  Keli, our cook and quartermaster, was tasked with packing, loading and manifesting what remained from previous legs, as well as 2000 lbs. of additional food that had just arrived.  Through the generosity of the NOAA Tauese P. F. Sunia Ocean Center here in Pago Pago, we had a small storage room to work in. I walked into it my first day here and saw boxes literally from floor to ceiling.  Wow.  A daunting task for us, considering we had more food than boxes to pack it in.  Here is where we truly had to find our way.  Through the week, we sorted, packed and inventoried enough food for both canoes to reach New Zealand AND travel down the coast to Auckland.  New to this kuleana, Keli was the one doing the wayfinding, as she had to think through the process in a way that was most logical to her in order to accomplish her goal.


In addition to the food, we also had school tours on the canoes as well as outreach in schools themselves.  I went with four other crew members to the village of Fagasa, in the National Park area, to speak in the school on different aspects of navigation.  The curriculum was set up by the National Park Service office here in Pago Pago.  They, too, are wayfinders, seeking a means to bring the traditional knowledge of navigation back to Samoa in order to foster a reverence for the ocean.  They embraced our theme of Mālama Honua, as there is still much subsistence living here, and it is vital for those that live off the land and sea to have healthy and clean resources. Our crew had many talks during the week, with visitors from first graders to kupuna to people who just were walking by.  It is gratifying to see their interest in our canoes and humbling, to say the least, to feel their generosity and aloha for us.

IMG_2225Change is inevitable, especially with crew, and I know it was very hard for our four “Samoan residents” to see the crew they had sailed with depart, only to be replaced by new people who didn’t share that experience.  Even though we are all friends, the bonds developed through voyaging are intense and long-lasting.  Your crew becomes your family for life.  Even after only a week here with a small group, we got used to our routine of breakfast, work and dinner together.  With the arrival of the rest of our voyaging ‘ohana on Monday, the dynamic changed once again.  Now we are about thirty crew, all eager to help, work and collaborate to make our upcoming sail that much better.  As nice as it is to be reunited with our ‘ohana for this next week in Pago Pago, as always, our minds and hearts look towards the sea and the adventure that awaits us in Tonga.

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Update | Hōkūleʻa Departs American Sāmoa for Tonga and Aotearoa

HONOLULU – On October 16, 2014, Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia departed Pago Pago, American Sāmoa for the next leg of the Worldwide Voyage to Aotearoa (New Zealand). Crewmembers aboard the two voyaging canoes will be sailing through Vavaʻu Island group in the Kingdom of Tonga, then past the Kermadec Islands before reaching Aotearoa.

The crew of Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia, which includes two Maori voyagers from Aotearoa, will sail approximately 1,500 nautical miles through the Pacific Ocean before reaching their destination. These crewmembers will be part of a journey that returns Hōkūleʻa to Aotearoa for the first time since 1985. Hikianalia, which was built in Aotearoa in 2012, will be returning to her “birthplace.”

Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia are slated to arrive in Aotearoa in November, with a celebration for the arrival slated for Nov. 15 in Waitangi. The arrival of the canoes to the region will commemorate nearly thirty years since Hōkūleʻa first voyaged to Waitangi in 1985. In Waitangi, Māori elders are known to trace back the genealogy of all Māori people in Aotearoa to five voyaging canoes. Upon Hōkūleʻa’s arrival in 1985, Māori leaders recognized Hōkūle‘a as the sixth canoe carrying the sixth tribe, connecting the crew to the Māori people. As a celebration of the last voyage to Aotearoa and the current voyage, this leg of the Mālama Honua voyage will celebrate the theme, “Nā Waka: A Tribe Returning Home.”

Continue to follow the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage by visiting us online and joining our global movement towards a more sustainable Island Earth.

Blog | Michi Wong: Sennit of LIfe, Apa of Love

Pago Pago, American Samoa – Apia, Western Samoa – [Tokelau] – Swains/Olehenga – Pago Pago, American Samoa, August 25, 2014 to September 30, 2014.

To the crew of  Hōkūle`a and Hikianalia, Samoa Leg:  Timi, Rex, Kawai, Eric, Ceci, Sam, Daniel, Nainoa, Jenna, Lehua, Marcel, Keli, Nikki, Kula, Mary Anna, Maui, Seniu, Brad, Ryan, Mel, Saki, Linda, Bob, Adam.

9/26/2014, 06:00 a.m., I sit in the lobby of Sadie’s Inn—sleepless in the dark of predawn, rolling in gentle but mixed waves of reflection. Our Samoa to Samoa leg has been fraught with pauses of uncertainty, awaiting word as to when, whether, where we would set sail to Apia, to Swains, to Tokelau. Winds and weather, unprecedented storm patterns, swells and currents were hindrances. More than once there were questions as to whether we could return if we were to set sail for our destinations. Doubt and fear, error and disappointment punctuated unforeseen moments and crept in uninvited. Still, trust in our captains and navigator and faith in our journey held us focused and unyielding.

Images, stories, sensations, emotions arise swirling in magical richness of colors and connections. I am filled with awe of dazzling atolls, the vast expanse of deep blue, the navigator silhouette against the heavens, the spirit of dance and hā, strength, perseverance, courage, bumps, bruises, blood and sweat, muscles aching, hearts yearning. We were blessed with glimpses of Fa‘a Samoa, bitter awa and wisdom of Tau’a, the ancestors, shared in the fale of the high chiefs, in the embrace of the children of Aunu’u, in the thrill of Tosua, in the beauty and presence of the people, their families, culture and heritage, land and sense of place. We were set adrift in the struggles and darkness of the tides of time, and then cast into the grace and brilliance of His Highness, the Head of State. His words, a gift of light and hope, “we are all children of God,” he said more than once, urging us to set sail, to wayfind by the swells and navigate by the stars, to set forth in faith, true to the values within. His was a moral compass a gift of knowing. If we listened well, we would set out to rediscover our relationship to nature and to others, and to actualize the meaning of aloha, hope and healing, Mālama Honua.


“Why do you sail?” many asked. We sail for the ancestors, for our children, for those who will inherit this Island Earth, we sail because to not go is to pretend we do not see. And we sail for each other. The crew has been leaving in waves. I cannot deny my tears. Sadness runs in upwellings and undercurrents that we are nearing our journey’s end and approaching new crossroads and beginnings.  Joyful tears celebrate the bonds and indescribable allure of the `Ohana Wa`a, the family born of life on the canoe, the glances of assurance, tribulations and triumphs, labors of love, basking in each others’ imperfections, our own, the selflessness, humility, earnest pride, hard-earned scars, laughter, music, teasing, snippets of time knowing “nothing  fer shur,” except that what we have together is forever. Echoes of our Hakipu‘u elders waft in, “our blood is your blood, our bones are your bones, our stories are interwined.” This is the sennit of life, the sennit of love. Precious are these connections. Like the dot on the horizon, the wa`a arrives, the destination unfolds, the hope binds us and the island emerges again.

Mahalo for an incredible journey, Pui Pui Le Lalongi, Mālama Honua.  Me ke aloha, Michi

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Blog | Kālepa Baybayan: The Navigatorʻs Journey

The balcony of my apartment overlooks Malaloa Dock where our sailing canoes Hikianalia and Hōkūle’a are now at rest. On the horizon a row of purse seining tuna boats and tuna processing plants string the edge of Pago Pago harbor, and the strong smell of aged fish produces a pugnent odor.

The past 30 days has been filled with a short sail around the Samoan islands and stops at the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) conference in Apia and a visit to the now uninhabited Olosega Mamao (Swains Island). The crew have returned to the comfort and sanctuary of our hotel rooms at the Sadie Thompson Inn along the edge of Pago Pago harbor, where we have to remain vigilant against the bites of mosquitoes. The week has been busy with cleaning up the canoes, sorting through food and water containers, and conducting long needed vessel maintenance. We have begun our Mālama Honua education outreach program by opening up the canoes for tours and  providing star compass demonstrations and informational stations featuring the research initiatives conducted aboard the vessels. The crew has been conducting daily school presentations and participating in marine monitoring surveys and community service projects.


The past few months have been long for me, having to endure the separation from my family. I am blessed to have a loving wife, Audrey, who patiently awaits my return from the voyage for a brief break. I began my tour with the Polynesian Voyaging Society in the middle of March, and it has been a fast learning journey for me, having to organize the final stages of Hōkūle’a’s outfitting and loading while eradicating ants that required the canoe to be tent-fumigated only hours before our departure from O’ahu. I am learning very quickly how to keep the crew organized while in port, juggling our education initiatives, managing canoe maintenance, logistics, and pre-departure preparations.


The last 3-legs have been very different from each other, reflecting the changing theme for each leg of the voyage and the specific requirements to bring onboard crew members that can fill roles with the requisite skill sets. The personality of each leg represents the sum of the many personal experiences each crew member has contributed to this collective journey. The first leg was focused on navigation and the skills of determining direction, estimating position, and sailing the canoe as close to the wind as possible. The crew was made up of young apprentice navigators who demonstrated the intellectual capacity to problem solve their position daily. Given time, they should develop the wayfinding skills necessary to navigate; patience, time, and maturity is what is needed.

The second leg of the journey from Tahiti to Samoa was the longest, 53 days, with 16 different stops. We entered a number of narrow passes and had to steer along the edge of the channel to avoid the swift moving current. This crew demonstrated very strong protocol skills and chanted with loud voices and pride. With a stop at the United Nations SIDS conference, the third leg of the voyage was filled with high-level meetings hosted by international policy makers.


Each leg of the voyage had its challenges, with weather and health problems. The first leg of the voyage took the crew across the Pacific tradewind field in both the northern and southern hemisphere as the canoes sailed close to the wind making a Tahiti landfall. The Tahiti to Samoa leg sailed generally downwind with the prevailing tradewinds. There were bouts with wind reversals, winds coming from the direction we were sailing towards, which kept the canoes tacking back and forth for several days until the wind returned from the desired direction. There was 18 hours of a gale off of Mitiaro and Atiu, with sustained winds of 50 knots and seas up to 6 meters. We had difficulty making the upwind point on the return trip to Pago Pago from Swains Island and had to take a tow for the last 20 miles of the trip. There were two incidents of crew members coming down with cases of dengue fever. One crew member had to be medically evacuated from a remote island.

One of the most memorable moments was a visit to 1-Foot Island within the turquoise inner lagoon of Aitutaki. We took all crew members aboard Hikianalia and sailed to the remote island within the lagoon and had a picnic lunch on the shores of a sandbar. The crew had a wonderful day, full of snorkeling, exploring the reef, and collecting shells. I believe that our greatest success despite all our challenges is that we have sailed over four thousand nautical miles without damage to the canoes, and all crew arrived safely. We have demonstrated good stewardship of the planet in fulfillment of our mission, been excellent canoe-hosts and educators to the communities we have visited, and we are building a network of collaborators and partners who will care for the earth we live on.


For myself, it has been a great pleasure meeting old friends as we sailed across the central Pacific and to introduce new crew members to the many island communities we visited. One thing remained consistent throughout all three legs of the journey, the energetic spirit and enthusiasm each crew member brought to the voyage and its mission. The crew brought the highest level of professionalism to their respective canoe kuleana, and they all demonstrated good teamwork. The most important quality that I appreciated was that they listened to my instructions and executed on planned activities. The rule that if you were late for a meeting, you would need to provide entertainment for the next evening event, helped to motivate crew members to be on time.

I will now step away from the project for a few weeks to reconnect with family and to get caught up on home maintenance. The Mālama Honua voyage will remain close to my heart, but I will need to monitor its progress from afar. I wish success to the crews as they continue on our mission to Mālama Honua.


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Hangout | Bruce Blankenfeld & Miki Tomita: Punahou School Kindergarten Class

Through Google Hangouts, Hōkūleʻa master navigator Bruce Blankenfeld talks with kindergarten students at Punahou School about the preparations in Pago Pago, American Samoa and anticipated journey to Tonga and Aotearoa (New Zealand).

Through Google Hangouts On Air, we are bringing classrooms from around the globe with us on the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage. Together, we are sharing experiences and inspiring communities around the globe to navigate towards positive change for all. Visit the Canoe to Classroom page on our website to find out more.

Hangout | Cat Fuller: ʻIolani School

Through Google Hangouts, Hikianalia navigator Cat Fuller talks to students at ʻIolani School about the preparations in Pago Pago, American Samoa and anticipated journey to Tonga and Aotearoa (New Zealand).

Through Google Hangouts On Air, we are bringing classrooms from around the globe with us on the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage. Together, we are sharing experiences and inspiring communities around the globe to navigate towards positive change for all. Visit the Canoe to Classroom page on our website to find out more.

Hangout | Keli Takenaga: Kōkua Kalihi Valley Ehuola Program

Through Google Hangouts, Hikianalia crewmember Keli Takenaga talks to students of the Ehuola Program at Kōkua Kalihi Valley about the preparations in Pago Pago, American Samoa and anticipated journey to Tonga and Aotearoa (New Zealand)

Through Google Hangouts On Air, we are bringing classrooms from around the globe with us on the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage. Together, we are sharing experiences and inspiring communities around the globe to navigate towards positive change for all. Visit the Canoe to Classroom page on our website to find out more.