HomeAsian AmericansPolynesian canoe replica Hōkūleʻa makes final California stops

Polynesian canoe replica Hōkūleʻa makes final California stops

Hōkūleʻa left Dana Point in Orange County today, headed for San Diego, the voyaging canoe’s final stop in California.

Launched in 1975 by the Polynesian Voyaging Society, the sailing catamaran’s design replicates traditional Polynesian vessels, specifically the Native Hawaiian waʻa kaulua, and it sails without any engines or modern navigation equipment.

By building such vessels and undertaking voyages with them, the Society aims to “Reclaim our culture, traditions, and our relationship to home and our island earth,” according to their website. The vessels are used to engage in ‘experimental archaeology,’ replicating ancient techniques to test their feasibility.

Hōkūleʻa recently stopped at Newport Beach and Dana Point, being met by crowds of hundreds on and off the water, as Kaua’i Now News reported. At port calls, the canoe is often met by fans from the Native Hawaiian community, other Pacific Islander American communities and mainland Indigenous American communities, as well as surfers, sailors and others inspired by its mission.

Built almost 50 years ago, Hōkūleʻa’s is currently on its 15th major voyage, Moananuiākea, last having sailed down the West Coast in 1995. After San Diego, Hōkūleʻa is headed back home to Hawaiʻi, a change announced in August.

Since it began in June, the Moananuiākea voyage has sailed 2,800 miles and visited 35 communities, with plans to circumnavigate the Pacific over four years.

The Polynesian Voyaging Society said they wanted to bring Hōkūleʻa home to Lahaina, nearly totally destroyed, at a time when Hawaiʻi is hurting from the Maui wildfires earlier this year. Changes in the weather patterns that increase the chance of a storm were another motivation to have the canoe shipped rather than sailed back home, especially the current El Niño event.

Hōkūleʻa will be docked at the Maritime Museum of San Diego from November 8th till the 14th, with a welcome ceremony, public tours of the canoe, and a crew presentation at Silvergate Elementary School, according to the planned itinerary.

In the course of its voyage, Hōkūleʻa will be sailing an estimated 43,000 nautical miles and stop at over 300 ports in 36 countries and dependent archipelagoes and nearly 100 different indigenous homelands. As well as a physical trans-Pacific voyage, Moananuiākea is a global education campaign aiming to amplify indigenous knowledge and promote “planetary navigators” on metaphorical “voyages” to push for a better future for the Earth.

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