Hokulea reaches capital city Papeete of Tahiti

Hokulea reaches capital city Papeete of Tahiti

Hokulea and her sister escort Hikianalia arrived in Tahiti's capital city Papeete on Sunday, marking a return to the place where Hokulea made her momentous maiden voyage almost 40 years ago.

Officially completing the first leg of their world tour, the voyaging canoes landed around 4 p.m. in Papeete where they were greeted by a welcoming crowd and a special celebration that included a traditional arrival song.

The President of French Polynesia Gaston Flosse welcomed the Polynesian Voyaging Society's captains and crew.

The celebrations were meant to honor the connection that Hokulea shares with Tahiti that began with her journey there 38 years ago.

A Tahitian man gave the same greeting to Hokulea that his father had given in 1976, and a special declaration of "Malama Honua" -- a pledge to protect the oceans -- was presented to President Flosse and master navigator Nainoa Thompson.

"I was here in 1976, and the people of Tahiti gave us a great gift. They told us that we are family and to be proud of who we are as Pacific people," said Thompson.

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