Hokulea sets sail after weather delays

Kailin Kim
Kailin Kim
Nainoa Thompson
Nainoa Thompson

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

SAND ISLAND (KHNL) - After a ten day weather delay of cloudy, rainy and unclear conditions, the historic Hokule'a finally sets sail.

It's crew of 24 departed Oahu and headed for the isolated nature preserve: Palmyra Atoll. It'll be a nearly 1000 mile voyage that will take about 20 days.

Using the stars as its compass, Hokulea's tradition of sailing without instruments dates back 35 years. Recent bad weather kept the sailing canoe docked, but Tuesday afternoon's clear conditions couldn't have been better to begin its journey.

Family and friends on the Sand Island shore, send off the Hokule'a.

Kailin Kim is the youngest crew member ever.

She said she learned not to eat greasy foods and how to use the Hokule'a bathroom.

"You have to use a harness and hang off the back," said crew member Kailin Kim.

But this 17-year-old also wants to teach.

"I really want more people my age to be inspired by me going on this voyage and get involved with Hokulea and learn about the old ways," said Kim.

Captains, scientists and young navigators embark to Palmyra Atoll, an isolated nature preserve south of Oahu.  Its landscape looks like Hawaii did a 100 years ago. The crew wants to find ways to restore it to the old and make the state sustainable.

"We need to strengthen the things that make Hawaii so special," said Executive Director Nainoa Thompson.

"What the future is going to bring in terms of changes, positive changes here and abroad," said Hokulea Captain Bruce Blankenfeld.

A tale of Hawaiian tradition, Hokulea is hopeful the strength of the state's youth fills its sails into the future.

Aside from ways to restore land, this trip will also help train new crew members.

Hokulea will need about 260 people for its attempt to sail around the world in 2012.