2007/04/22

Ku Holo La Komohana

Hokule'a Voyage Update

"Ku Holo La Komohana - Sail On To The Western Sun"

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The title of this post is the name given to this voyage by Hawaiian scholar and author, Lilikala Kame'eleihiwa. On the Hawaiian star compass, komohana, the western sun, marks the sailing direction from Hawai'i to Japan.

Following the visit to Palua and a brief return to Yap, the Polynesian Voyaging Society's double hulled sailing canoe, Hokule'a, is now well on her way to Okinawa. There was some delay to make sure that the weather enroute would not pose any extreme hazards (such as a cyclone). She is now less than 160 miles (296 km) from Itoman Harbor, Okinawa, making 4.3 knots.

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Navigating by the sun and stars, Holuke'a will sail up to the latitude of Okinawa (26 degrees N) then turn west until landfall. At that latitude, the Southern Cross (Hanaiakamalama) sits right on the horizon indicating due south.

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As the Southern Cross sets S by W, other stars - Alpha and Beta Centauri (Kamailemua and Kamailehope) transit the meridian about an hour and a half apart, at 3.5 and 3 degrees above the horizon respectively, offering more cues for Hokule'a to stay on course at 26 degrees N latitude.

The visit to Japan celebrates the ties between Hawaii and Japan which began in 1881 when King David Kalakaua became the first head of state to visit Japan after the Meiji Restoration. In 1885, King Kalakaua requested and Emperor Meiji signed an agreement which allowed for the immigration of Japanese workers to Hawai‘i.

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"The voyage will nurture multi-generational, multicultural family ties and provide an opportunity for cultural exchanges, with Hawai'i sharing with the Japanese the story of Hokule'a and the renaissance of Hawaiian culture and pride. The voyage will also celebrate Hawai‘i’s cultural diversity, honor our ancestors, encourage stewardship of our environment, and contribute to global peace by fostering cultural understanding and appreciation." - Polynesian Voyaging Society

For the latest details, photos and navigation information about Hokule'a, visit:



10 comments:

ladybug said...

Yay! They are almost there! What an adventure that would be to be part of this voyage!

Of course I'd be the one sun-tanning on the deck and getting drinks for everyone when needed.

I wish I knew more about the technical stuff, I never learned much about the stars, or latitude/longitude. It looks very interesting.

I wonder, do they also check the skies for weather? I remember when I did my sailing class that was watching the clouds was very important, and could tell you alot about where the wind is, and is going to be....

Pandabonium said...

They do have to "read" the local weather to find the wind and deal with swells. But they rely on modern weather reports in order to avoid any chance of severe weather. The Hokule'a and crew would likely not survive an encounter with a cyclone.

Their 1978 voyage was cut short when the canoe was capsized in heavy waves while still in Hawaiian waters about 12 miles off the coast of Lanai. One of the crew, a big wave rider named Edward Aikau, took his surfboard to get help and was never seen again. The modern surfer's phrase "Eddie would go" comes from his sacrifice.

So they try to recreate ancient voyaging techniques, but back it up with modern technology to stay safe.

Hill said...

This is bound to be the adventure of a lifetime for some. Heading off to read the link now.
Oh, and thanks!

The Moody Minstrel said...

Those amazing Polynesians. And to think I only used to envy them for their beautiful female dancers. ;-)

Pandabonium said...

Hill - it is quite an amazing adventure. Enjoy reading about it.

Moody said "And to think I only used to envy them for their beautiful female dancers."

Ah, the Hula Lady -

"Gliding like the birds at sea
Her hips are waves of motion
Casting spells with every glance
She could hypnotize the ocean"

Swinebread said...

Whoa, I just can’t get my head around how brave and adventurous this crew is. I hope the actually report something in the US news about them when they get there

Pandabonium said...

Swinebread - it makes me appreciate the ancient peoples who did long voyages. So often we get a feeling of modern "superiority" and play down the achievements of the past.

They get good news coverage in Hawaii of course. Nationally, I don't know. Perhaps with Japan in the picture it will draw more attention.

laminar_flow said...

I would like to see Hokule'a meet up with a Drua.

bonnie said...

I've been thinking about how that '78 trip started - rushing to keep the press happy - in light of the schooner Anne's departure.

I'm wondering if part of why they left before Soanya had any sea time under her belt was because of the rising pressure for the expedition to get going. I hope that's not the case but in most other respects, for all it's a little crazy, a TON of planning has gone into it. No sea time for Soanya is a sort of weird anomaly.

Well, I hope she meets the challenge. That would be cool.

I'm so glad you do these Hokule'a posts. Can't wait 'til they get there, how exciting!

Pandabonium said...

Bula! Laminar Flow - that would a sight. I'm guessing a Drua would sail rings around the Hokule'a.

For readers who don't know - a Drua is a double hulled Fijian battle canoe, some of which were up to 100 feet in length and faster than mid-19th century sailing ships of Eurpope.

Bonnie - let's just wish the schooner Anne and her crew well and hope for the best. It certainly has all the comforts of home.

Glad you like following the Hokule'a. I hope I can go see it when it reaches Yokohama.