Hokulea, Hikianalia crews prepare to return to Hawaii after successful training voyage

The crews of Hokulea and Hikianalia are in French Polynesia, gearing up to head back home to Hawaii as part of a training expedition for the next generation.
Published: May. 26, 2022 at 4:51 PM HST|Updated: May. 26, 2022 at 5:32 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The crews of Hokulea and Hikianalia are in French Polynesia, gearing up to head back home to Hawaii as part of a training expedition for the next generation of navigators.

The canoes are currently anchored in the Tuamotu archipelago about 175 miles northeast of Tahiti.

Master navigator Nainoa Thompson is impressed with how the young crews have excelled during the Kealaikahiki voyage.

“They trusted nature, that nature and the heavens and the oceans and the atmosphere would show them the way,” said Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society. “They trusted Hokulea because it knows the way. This will be its eighth voyage from Hawaii to Tahiti and they trusted each other.”

Thompson says the crews arrived in Tahiti in 17 days, which is two weeks faster than when he first sailed that route decades ago.

But there’s still much to endure as the journey back to Hawaii is facing stormy conditions, especially near the Doldrums.

“This area that we have to go through, we call it the convergence and on one hand, we are very careful of how we navigate through that, but it’s really hard to navigate,” Thompson explained.

“Normally there’s no sun, no stars, and moon or planets. You gotta navigate by the ocean waves, even in the black of night.”

Those are invaluable lessons, especially with the Moananuiakea voyage, the circumnavigation of the pacific, on track for next year.

“Whether you are forced or you allow yourself or invited into the natural world of the oceans, it’s complicated,” Thompson said. “It’s complex, but it will navigate you and you just need to trust that.”

They are planning to leave the Tuamotus in the coming days after ensuring everyone tests negative for COVID-19.

The voyage back to Hawaiian waters is expected to take about three weeks.

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