HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As we near the end of 2017, Hawaii News Now is taking a look back at the biggest stories that emerged over the course of a turbulent year for Hawaii.
In January 2017, via the Panama Canal, Hokulea re-entered the Pacific.
It was the home stretch for the voyaging canoe and its crew on a 40,000-mile worldwide voyage that began in May 2014 and would come to an end in June, after Hokulea had crossed three oceans and visited 19 countries.
Along the way, her crew shared a message of "malama honua," meaning "care for the earth."
In Tahiti, Hokulea was reunited with her sister voyaging canoe Hikianalia to end the worldwide journey the way they started it — sailing side by side,
On June 17, just before 10 a.m., Hokulea entered the Ala Wai Boat channel surrounded by an armada of vessels.
"Oh to have her home is so unreal!" exclaimed Malia Marquez, as she joined tens of thousands of others at Ala Moana Beach Park for Hokulea's homecoming celebration.
"Look at all these people," she said. "That's the reason, the connectedness, the ohana and aloha. You can't get enough of that."
In an emotional speech at the homecoming, Polynesian Voyaging Society President Nainoa Thompson paid tribute to all who played a key role in the history of the Hokulea.
He also reflected on those who said the voyage was too risky.
"And in the end, the reason why we left was we believed, we believed, and I say this with all humility, Hawaii is good enough to go around the world. Hawaii is good enough, it can do it, and with that belief, we left."
After the homecoming, though, Hokulea's work was far from over.
In August, the voyaging canoe and its crew began a six-month statewide tour. The goal: To touch one third of Hawaii's schoolchildren and to carry the inspiration and the knowledge forward.
"We see the sparkle in our haumana's eyes and their curiosity," said Kamehameha Schools-Maui Principal and Hokulea crew member Jay-R Kaawa.
"It's hard for me to explain the worldwide voyage because it's deeply, deeply emotional and spiritual. It's been a long journey and yet it's not. It was too fast. We didn't go to enough places, we didn't connect with enough people. But we never will."