Hokulea's Next Crew Trains to Get Sea Worthy

Max Varawamai
Max Varawamai

HAWAII KAI (KHNL)- As the voyaging ships Hokulea and Alingano Maisu head towards Pohnpei, fighting heavy rains. The current crew has been at sea for almost a month and the next crew members are anxious and ready to take over the reins. Training for a journey like this takes months to prepare for.

Before setting sail on the open ocean, crewmembers for Hokulea must navigate through the waters off China Walls. Ana Varawamai says, "I'm excited. Definitely a little nervous. I'm just ready to get it out of the way and get going."

Her dad Max wonders, "I think it's going to be pretty hard. Like Nainoa (Thompson- PVS president) said, we have to feel good about ourselves before we get on this trip."

This trip means more for Max Varawamai and Ana. It's a trip back to Max's native Micronesia. "I'm really excited to see family and through the culture. That's really exciting for me."

His daughter adds, "Although I grew up in Hawaii, I feel like I'm going back to my roots, going back to my family."

The journey could be tough. Weather is already causing problems for the first crew, extending their already long trip. These crewmembers say they are ready. It's more special to Ana because of her family connection. "Incredibly special to share this with him. Because he's the one with the knowledge of our culture and the ocean, and wouldn't want to be doing it with anyone else."

Those that passed today's test will fly out on Wednesday to Pohnpei to relieve the current crew. There they will meet up with Hawaii doctors who are partnered with the Hokulea. The Aloha Medical Mission's (www.alohamedicalmission.org) first crew flew to Chuuk Friday with boxes of medical supplies for a clinic they'll be setting up. The medical crew aims to improve healthcare in Micronesia.

About 2 dozen volunteer doctors, nurses, and laypeople, are flying Continental to several Micronesian islands. A second Aloha Medical Mission crew flies to Ponhpei on Monday to meet the Hokulea. Crew members will help out at the medical clinics.

The canoes are scheduled to sail throughout Micronesia for the next month, before heading to Okinawa and finally to mainland Japan.