Leg 17: Brazil to the Virgin Islands
After Hōkūleʻa’s first crossing of the Atlantic and first touch to South America in Natal, Brazil, she continued into new waters of the Caribbean. Here, she and her crew expect to encounter some familiar themes among new archipelagos and cultures – stories of precious marine and terrestrial resources on tropical and subtropical islands and the efforts to protect them.
Hōkūleʻa sailed north from Natal, Brazil to first visit the US Virgin Islands, where she spent 5 days on St. John engaging with the local community and the Virgin Islands National Park. Hōkūleʻa covered approximately 2,085 nautical miles on this leg, over 17 days of voyaging. From St. John, Hōkūleʻa continued on to the British Virgin Islands. In the British Virgin Islands, the canoe and crew plan to visit Necker, Moskito and Virgin Gorda Islands.
Pwo Navigator Kālepa Baybayan captained Hōkūleʻa on this leg of the voyage, guiding apprentice navigators Brad Wong and Kalani Kahalioumi; watch captains Snake Ah Hee, Kawika Crivello and David Komine; and crew Heidi Guth, Nakua Lind, Justyn Ah Chong, Kelly Tam-Sing, Puaita Pulotu and Ben Dumaran.
Voyaging to the US Virgin Islands was a remarkable moment for both the Worldwide Voyage and for one crewmember in particular: PVS Chief Operating Officer and veteran crew member Heidi Guth, who was raised in the US Virgin Islands. Hōkūleʻa crew visited the US Virgin Islands National Park on St. John, where Heidi’s father served as ranger for many years. The Virgin Islands National Park is also celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.