After returning from a year-long journey across the Pacific Ocean, the Hikianalia is already on its next adventure.
The sister canoe of the Hokulea and her 16-member crew – including six researchers with the Hawaii Nature Conservatory -- are now on an eight-day navigational training and marine research trip to the Northwestern Hawaiian Island of Nihoa, a 700-acre island located about 120 miles northeast of Niihau.
“We'll be doing traditional navigation and crew training once we get there, and once we're there, we'll be doing marine monitoring surveys and intertidal surveys and trying to look at what the reefs look like up there and what they look like back home in the main islands,” said Kaleo Wong, captain and navigator of the Hikianalia.
When the Hikianalia returns it will be on display for Hawaii's public school students. Then next year, it will set sail to the west coast of the Mainland before reuniting with the Hokulea in South America to finish the worldwide tour.
Polynesian Voyaging Society officials announced in December that the Hikianalia would return to Hawaii because they were concerned about the canoe's ability to serve as a powerful enough escort vessel and that it wouldn't be able to handle the rough waters during the Hokulea's voyage. They decided to replace it with a modern escort boat with towing abilities.
The Hokulea is continuing on its worldwide voyage that will cover more than 60,000 nautical miles, 100 ports and 27 nations.