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After weather cut their voyage short, Hokulea and Hikianalia return to Oahu

Published: May. 27, 2021 at 8:49 PM HST|Updated: May. 27, 2021 at 8:50 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - After two weeks of sailing around Hawaii, the crews of the Hokulea and Hikianalia returned to Oahu on Thursday night.

The canoes docked at the Marine Education Training Center at Sand Island after bad weather and dangerous conditions cut their training mission short.

During their mission both canoes traveled to Maui and Hawaii Island.

The crews had originally planned to sail to an area in the Pacific known as “The Doldrums” — about 5 degrees north of the equator.

But, high winds kept them moored off Lahaina for nine days, and the crews decided they had to hold off.

Although there was a change of plans, experienced sailors said newer crew members had a chance to practice flexibility while sailing.

“Because there was so many things they had to shift, the weather and not being able to go to the convergence, so they really were a group learning how to navigate change,” said Master Navigator Nainoa Thompson.

“It was an amazing opportunity,” said Chris Blake, a captain who participated in the voyage. “To be able to be part of the voyage but also being a part of this amazing crew and to Nainoa, and I think that through these challenges, we came out better for it.”

During their voyage, crew members also had the chance to deliver the ashes of master navigator, Kalepa Baybayan, to his mother in Lahaina.

“It’s a voyage for Uncle Kalepa who knew all of the pathways that we needed and to continue voyaging both on land at sea,” said Kai Hoshijo, a crew member.

Although this voyage was cut short, the Polynesian Voyaging Society said a bigger voyage is still in the works.

The goal is to have nearly 200 people trained by the end of the summer for next year’s Moananuiakea Voyage, in which Hokulea and Hikianalia will circumnavigate the Pacific for three and a half years.

“It starts in Alaska clockwise, goes through 46 countries, 41,000 miles, 42 months and 100 indigenous territories at least and ends in Russia,” Thompson said.

“So it’s about exploration and protecting the earth by protecting the world’s oceans.”

Although the journey may be daunting, the crews said they are ready for the challenge.

“It’s scary out there. It’s vast and deep ocean, so it’s scary but it’s very meaningful,” said Hoshijo.

“As a Hawaiian, as someone from the Pacific, Hokulea means so much and so to go out into the deep Pacific, it fills you up just as much as it pushes you to that edge and scares you.”

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