HILO, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - Weather-permitting Hokule'a and her sister escort canoe, Hikianalia, will depart Hilo on the first leg of their worldwide voyage, "Malama Honua", on Friday morning.
The crew arrived on Hawai'i Island last week Monday around midnight after a heartfelt send-off from O'ahu, which more than a thousand members of the community attended to wish them well.
Crew members have spent the last week and a half finalizing their preparations and training on everything from man overboard to current draw tests to ensure Hikianalia can tow Hokule'a should she need to.
The mission of "Malama Honua," which means to care for our Earth, is to create global relationships and explore best practices for caring for our oceans and planet. The 36-month journey will cover a total of 47,000 nautical miles with stops at 85 ports in 26 different countries.
The first leg is from Hawai'i to Tahiti, as Hokule'a retraces its 1976 sail to Pape'ete. That maiden voyage was crucial to the resurgence of traditional navigation practices, as Hawaiian voyagers proved to the world our ancestors intended to settle in the islands and didn't drift here by accident.
The voyagers will be navigating without modern instruments. Instead they'll strictly use the stars, ocean current, winds, and birds as mapping points for direction.
There are more than 300 crew members from all over the state who will be sailing on Hokule'a. They all come from within the 'Ohana Wa'a, which comprises of several other voyaging canoes -- Makali'i, Hokualaka'i, Mo'okiha, Namahoe and Hawaiʻi Loa.