A storied ship returns to the islands

Kaina Holomalia
Kaina Holomalia
Kealoha Ho
Kealoha Ho

By Paul Drewes bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - The Hokulea has completed its latest trip to the South Pacific and back.

It is not the end of a journey for this Hawaiian sailing canoe, but rather the beginning of a new voyage.

The Hokulea returned to Hawaii with a little help from a tow boat, after a difficult training sail to Palmyra Atoll and back.

"We been through storms, some of the roughest weather the Hoku has seen," said crew member Kaina Holomalia, of Waianae.

There to greet the ship were supporters, who lined the shore, taking pictures of the voyaging canoe. Which sparked a resurgence in ancient polynesian navigation, not only here in Hawaii but across the pacific.

Before stepping off the canoe, crew members said a final prayer, and gave one another hugs in celebration of their accomplishment.

On shore, more hugs and aloha from family and friends. Many of whom hadn't seen the crew members for weeks.

Just one of the sacrifices of sailing the ship on this voyage.

"The hardest part was leaving my family here. We left our family to make another family on board the canoe," added Holomalia.

And it is on the canoe, these sailors showed the world what ancient Polynesians were able to accomplish: Navigating by stars along migration routes. But this was also a journey of self -discovery for the sailors.

"it was another opportunity to learn about our culture, who we are as Hawaiians. And to kick off this worldwide voyage, we really need to look at ourselves first," said crew member Kealoha Ho, from Makapuu.

As this journey comes to an end, it is just the start of an ambitious plan to sail the Hokulea around the world. With each successful sail, they inspire future crew members to dream big. While at the same time, taking the dreams of many others along for the ride.

"When we arrived in Hawaii it wasn't just the 12 crew members stepping off the canoe. It was the thousands who helped us get there, helped prepare for this sail," said Holomalia.

The Holukea's three year global voyage is scheduled to start in 2012.