Ancient Polynesian Sailing Canoe Hokule’a Coming To Martha’s Vineyard, Woods Hole

The day breaks over Hōkūleʻa with Kualoa Hawaii behind her.

The day breaks over Hōkūleʻa with Kualoa Hawaii behind her.

The Hokule’a is coming!

The beautiful replica of an ancient Polynesian double-hulled sailing canoe will sail into Vineyard Haven Harbor on June 28, then heads to Woods Hole, arriving July 1.

The East Coast of the United States is the 19th leg of the Hokule’a’s 3-year Malama Honua (Caring For Our Earth) Worldwide Voyage. The Hokule’a departed from Hilo, Hawaii in May of 2014.

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The Hawaiian vessel’s mission is to weave a “lei of hope” by sharing the stories of men and women working hard to achieve a sustainable way of life. Hokule’a’s voyage, says world renowned oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Dr. Earle, “is bringing attention to all those who are inspired by the positive message that we can achieve great things if we do what we can to save the planet – and we do it together.”

On her way up the East Coast, the Hokule’a will be in New York on June 8 to commemorate World Oceans Day with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.

“I am honored to be a part of Hokule’a’s Worldwide Voyage,” the Secretary General said. “I am inspired by its global mission. As you tour the globe, I will work and rally more leaders to our common cause of ushering in a more sustainable future, and a life of dignity for all.”

Hokule'a arriving in DC on May 18. Courtesy of Polynesian Voyaging Society and Oiwi TV. Photo credit: Na'alehu Anthony.

Hokule’a arriving in DC on May 18. Courtesy of Polynesian Voyaging Society and Oiwi TV. Photo credit: Na’alehu Anthony.

The Hokule’a’s unprecedented voyage of hope is extra special because she circumnavigates the globe without the use of modern instruments. Her construction in the early 1970s sparked a cultural revival throughout Polynesia. Back then, there were only a handful left on the planet skilled in the art of wayfinding: navigating solely by the stars, ocean swells and marine life.

One of them, a traditional navigator named Mau Piailug, from the tiny Micronesian island of Satawal, was the link to this revival, as he imparted his knowledge over decades of training to a group of Hawaiians. Nainoa Thompson is one of them and he is now president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, based in Honolulu.

Stops on Hokule’a’s worldwide voyage include Tahiti, New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Madagascar, South Africa, Brazil, Cuba, Florida, Virginia, Washington D.C., and New York. Her crew is meeting with educators and first peoples to discuss a sustainable future for our planet.

“We have to teach our children at a young age to connect with nature,” Thompson said.

Nainoa Thompsor, pesident, Polynesian Voyaging Society. (Courtesy of Polynesian Voyaging Society)

Nainoa Thompsor, pesident, Polynesian Voyaging Society. (Courtesy of Polynesian Voyaging Society)

Tentative Schedule of events for Martha’s Vineyard

Tuesday, June 28: A welcoming flotilla will greet Hokule’a and escort her into Vineyard Haven harbor where there will be a sacred ceremony with the Aquinnah Wampanoag tribe. Greetings by the Chairwoman of the Tisbury Board of Selectmen, Melinda Loberg, and students from Edgartown school, who will present the crew with food grown in the school’s garden. Hawaiian music and more.

Wednesday, June 29 and Thursday June 30: Events to be determined.

Friday, July 1: Hokule’a will depart for Woods Hole

Hokule'a crew members visit NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florida, in April

Hokule’a crew members visit NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florida, in April

Tentative schedule for Woods Hole

Friday, July 1: Arrival in Woods Hole, with greetings from and a ceremony with local Wampanoag; a free showing of anthropologist and Polynesian Voyaging Society crew member Sam Low’s documentary film, “The Navigators,” at noon in Redfield Auditorium as part of WHOI’s “Peanut Butter Club” (so called because the public is invited to bring a bag lunch); a tentative question and answer sessions with Hokule’a’s crew and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute Scientists.

Saturday, July 2 and Sunday, July 3: Events to be determined.

For more information on the worldwide voyage, please visit www.hokulea.com.

— By Marina Blythe Davalos

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