Hōkūleʻa Update | October 4, 2015
PORT LOUIS, MAURITIUS – The crew of the Hōkūleʻa set sail for South Africa, the most ambitious leg of the Mālama Honua Worldwide voyage yet. The performance-accurate deep sea voyaging canoe was built in the tradition of ancient Polynesian navigators 40 years ago to sail the Pacific. This leg of the voyage–navigating the unpredictable and sometimes dangerous Indian Ocean–is a historic first for the Polynesian Voyaging Society. She departed Port Louis at 4:20 p.m. October 4, 2015, Mauritius local time (2:20 a.m. HST).
Nainoa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, is the captain and pwo (master) navigator for this leg of the journey. He and his crew made preparations while docked in Mauritius over the past two weeks, hosted by Hawaii-based Outrigger Resorts-a key sponsor of the Worldwide Voyage. Well-rested and provisioned thanks to the generosity of the Outrigger Mauritius Beach Resort, the crew is well equipped to take on the challenges of one of the world’s most dangerous ocean passages.
Hōkūleʻa’s crew spent the day of departure dockside at the Port Louis, making the final preparations. When all was ready, Thompson’s direction to the crew was succinct and powerful: “Let’s go find Africa. Time to go.”
Continuing to navigate using only traditional Polynesian non-instrument wayfinding techniques, Thompson is guidingHōkūleʻa to the continent of Africa for the first time in the history of Polynesian voyaging. The sail plan for this leg of the journey includes the possibility for stops in small ports of call along the coast of Africa to ensure the safety of the crew, Thompson’s first priority. The Hokulea may dock at Fort Dauphin, Madagascar for up to a week en route to Richard’s Bay, South Africa, before eventually reaching Cape Town in mid-November.