A three-year voyage came to an end in June when the Polynesian voyaging canoe Hókúle‘a sailed into Oah’u’s Magic Island. The 62ft catamaran, based on the craft that took Polynesian voyagers all over the Pacific centuries ago, made the epic voyage as part of an effort to heighten awareness of, and involvement in, environmental issues.
The Málama Honua Worldwide Voyage was the brainchild of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, which maintains the traditional art and science of Polynesian voyaging under sail.
Hókúle‘a was launched in 1975. Combining old elements with the new, Hókúle‘a is built with some modern materials such as hulls made from fiberglass and held together with synthetic lashings. She made her voyage without the use of modern navigational aids, instead applying the traditional arts that the original Polynesian navigators, or wayfinders, used in their voyaging, by observing stars, clouds, seabird behavior and natural patterns to guide them.
Over the past forty-plus years, she has sailed more than 150,000 miles throughout the Pacific and beyond.The Malama voyage saw her sailing over 60,000 miles and stopping at 100 ports in 27 nations over three years.
Throughout Hókúle‘a’s journey, there were activities at each stopover where the public could participate in the mission to help save our oceans, ranging from tours of the canoe, dockside exhibits, virtual field trips and service learning experiences, to scientific research projects, youth leadership summits, education workshops and community gatherings and discussions
Over the decades, Hókúle‘a’s travels shone a new light on the Hawaiian culture and helped bring attention to maritime traditions that were common in the Pacific Ocean before the advent of modern technology. They also inspired a revival of canoe building and voyaging throughout Polynesia.
For more information visit hokulea.com.
MHS: Fall 2017