Hawaiian canoe crew visits Hampton Roads
The Hawaiian crew that’s sailing a traditional Polynesian voyaging canoe around the world to raise environmental awareness is in Hampton Roads this week to advance plans to sail to Newport News in April.
Crew members met with Mariners’ Museum members, staff and local educators Friday afternoon to discuss their upcoming visit and their mission to spread the message of “Malama Honua” or “Care for our Island Earth.”
Then on Saturday, the museum says it plans an SOL-based Hokule’a Cultural and Environmental Teacher Professional Development Day. Hokule’a is the name of the 62-foot, 8-ton, double-hulled sailing canoe, which is still off the coast of Brazil.
This type of vessel was once used by native peoples to sail among the Pacific islands across vast distances using the sun, stars and wind to navigate, said Nainoa Thompson, educator and head of the Polynesian Voyaging Society.
But the ancient navigational skills and canoe-building techniques were lost for more than 600 years before the society built the Hokule’a in the 1970s. Now it’s on a 45,000-mile, three-year mission to navigate the globe.
“Our greatest success,” Thompson said Friday, “is staying true to our mission through our exploration and what we’ve learned from the Earth and the ability to transmit our educational message — not only to Hawaii, but worldwide.”
The canoe has already traveled about 28,000 miles under 192 total crew members who have changed out 18 times, he said. They’ve visited 14 countries and 85 ports.
The Hokule’a is expected to sail into Hampton Roads on April 22, and be escorted to the James River Fishing Pier in Newport News by a local flotilla, museum officials said. On April 24, the ship is scheduled to sail to Yorktown for a traditional welcoming ceremony. It’s expected to depart the area May 7. “It is a great opportunity to learn of another important maritime culture,” said Lyles Forbes, the museum’s vice president of collections.
By Tamara Dietrich, reposted from The Daily Post, February 1, 2016