2007/06/10

Hokule'a Completes Voyage!

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Voyaging canoe Hokule'a and accompanying sailboat Kama Hele have arrived in Yokohama, completing a five month, 8,000 mile voyage that took them from Hawaii to the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and Palau, before turning northward to Okinawa and other ports in Japan - all places they had never been before. Crews were changed over the course of the journey, giving some 260 different people the chance to sail the vessels involved. Several times that number assisted on land.

Yokohama's Hokule'a Website (in English and Japanese) is here: Yokohama Seaside Festival

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At the invitation of master navigator Nainoa Thompson, a hula halau (hula performing school), Pukalani Hula Hale, from the island of Maui will perform in Yokohama for a Hawaiian cultural program. In addition there will be lectures by crewmembers, canoe tours, school visits, and workshops. (Three hula halau also performed during the welcome ceremony, as did official greeters from the Port of Yokohama.)

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Hokule'a and Kama Hele at the dock in Yokohama

Holkule'a will be departing Yokohama for Honolulu on June 21st, but this time she won't rely on her sails. Instead she will be riding on the deck of the ship Settsu, an NYK (Nippon Yusen Kaisha) container ship which sails between the two ports. (Sailing back to Hawaii would not be impossible, but as it would be against the prevailing winds it would take a very long time.) NYK generously offered the transportation in order to make the entire voyage possible. They also provided on board pilots to help the Hokule'a navigate some of Japan's strong currents and heavily trafficked waters. NYK has their own cool website all about the voyage in English and Japanese here: NYK and Hokule'a.

Hokulea had two Japanese crew members: Araki Takuji, 4 time Japan National Champion of lifesaving in the surf-skiing category, and founder of the Japan Canoe Club; and Uchino Kinako, a professional photographer who has studied at the University of Hawaii and is known for her underwater pictures of marine life.

The voyage has been a tremendous success on many levels. Nainoa Thompson said the Japan experience has suggested to him that Hokule'a would continue to sail and visit new places in order to build bridges and spread the values the canoe symbolizes - "caring for and protecting the environment, perpetuating culture and traditions, caring for children, honoring elders and encouraging pride and strength in ancestry, healing what has been torn apart, and promoting world peace."

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Aloha Hokule'a

9 comments:

Hill said...

Wish I could be there to see it. A magnificent accomplishment, indeed.

ladybug said...

Good for them! I like their mission statement as well. It would be interesting to see if they could make it to New Zealand on a future voyage!

Pandabonium said...

Hill - I would have liked to go to Yokohama to see it too, but timing didn't work out. The voyage itself was no simple feat. The cultural exchanges and educational aspects are even more wonderful.

Ladybug - yes it would. They went to Aotearoa (New Zealand) and back in 1985-87 (they made lots of stops).

In a comment to an earlier post, Kato Kosei said according to posts in the PVS website they will go again in 2009 with the new voyaging canoe built at Kauai Community College - the Na Mohoe.

I have learned Mr. Kato has a doctorate in comparative civilizations, was very much involved in fund raising for this voyage and has provided many photos of Hokulea in Japan.

Swinebread said...

What a great voyage and journey… here's a hope for many more. ☺

QUASAR9 said...

And still going strong.
Did I tell you I almost sailed the Atlantic on a similar craft sometwenty years ago.
A bunch of daring studentscame up with the idea, but alas places were limited.

Love the hoola dancer!

Pandabonium said...

Swinebread - thanks. I second that.

Quasar9 - brave lad. The Atlantic can get pretty mean. Glad you like the dancer. :p

Don Snabulus said...

Many happy returns!

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

What an accomplishment. A good story.
w.

Pandabonium said...

Snabby - yes indeed.

Wendy - it's good to have positive stories to focus on these days.