It has been in the news a lot lately, but in case you haven’t heard, Hawaii’s voyaging canoe, the Hokulea, is about to set sail on a momentous four year adventure to circumnavigate the Earth! With the support of environmental leaders from over 21 organizations, the voyage is on a mission to raise awareness of the importance of caring for our planet and its oceans. The voyage is called Malama Honua which means “care for the world” and has been years in the planning.
Hokulea navigator Nainoa Thompson compared the earth to an island, saying, “the earth is surrounded by an ocean of space, and it’s the only one we’ve got. It’s time to rethink our world view” The mission of the voyage is to focus on the Earth’s cultural and national treasures, so over the next few years the Hokulea will join with coastal communities worldwide to gain understanding, share concerns, encourage cooperation, and spread awareness of the need to care for our oceans and our earth.
The Hokulea will not travel alone on this voyage. Alongside will be the Hikianalia, which will be equipped with all the latest technology, to document and share the day to day events of this important voyage with the world. We will be able to travel along! The first leg, in 2014, will be to Hilo, then on to Tahiti, the Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga, and New Zealand. In 2015 they will sail to Fiji, Australia, Bali, and Madagascar. In 2016, it’s on to South Africa and across the Atlantic to Brazil, then up the east coast of the United States. The year 2017 will see the canoe returning home via the Panama Canal, stopping at the Galapagos and Rapa Nui before arriving back in Hawaii.
It is an historic event and all those involved are excited and anxious to be underway soon. As navigator Thompson put it, “We’ve been training for six years now. It’s time to go.” They will schedule their sailing periods to avoid hurricane seasons, or places where the risk is too high, such as the piracy issue of East Africa. We wish them well as they set sail on this ambitious endeavor, sailing, in Thompson’s words, “on the belief that at the commonness of us all is a people who care about their children, care about their homes, and care about a world that they will deliver to the next generation”. The canoes are scheduled to leave Oahu on May 17th, 2014.