Hōkūleʻa captain says this voyage to Tahiti will be unlike any other
After more than two weeks of delays, the crews on the Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia voyaging canoes have departed Hilo for Tahiti.
Unfavorable weather has been the culprit with easterly winds, squalls and occasional downpours keeping crews docked at Palekai on Hawaiʻi Island.
While in Hilo, the crew has been busy provisioning the canoe and taking care of final voyage preparations.
Depending on the weather, the voyage to Tahiti will take an estimated 20 days.
Hōkūleʻa captain Chris Blake says Hōkūleʻa has made the voyage to Tahiti many times before because it's the home of the sacred navigational heiau, or temple, known as Taputapuātea.
But Blake says this voyage will be unlike any other.
"This time we’re looking at starting our Moananuiākea Circumnavigation of the Pacific, which actually is longer in distance than the World Wide Voyage itself to help to, number one, show everybody the importance of our oceans as the lungs of the Earth. But also to help to bring information and knowledge about the ways that we can care for our island Earth, especially our oceans," Blake told Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
"And also to show everyone just how big our Pacific Ocean really is. Moananuiākea, you know the idea of this wide expansive ocean, is one that is humbling and our kūpuna are the ones who navigated these things very skillfully from the beginning, and working on making sure we have that at the forefront of what we do," he said.
While in Tahiti, voyaging leaders will be participating in the Blue Climate Summit, a high-level meeting to discuss ocean protection and climate change.
The Tahiti voyage will focus on leadership, navigational training and cultural protocol to prepare the crew and test the canoes before they embark on the Moananuiākea Voyage next year.
Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia are scheduled to return to Oʻahu in June.
Click here to follow the voyage on the Polynesian Voyaging Society website.