They’ve sailed the treacherous Indian Ocean. They’ve encountered rough seas. And since departing Hawaiian waters in May 2014, Hōkūle‘a has sailed more than 21,000 nautical miles and made stops in 12 countries and 55 ports, weaving a “Lei of Hope” around the world. So far, crewmembers have connected with more than 45,000 people in communities across the South Pacific, Tasman Sea and Indian Ocean including Samoa, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Australia, Indonesia, Mauritius and South Africa.
Now in its third year of a historic four-year journey, Hōkūle‘a is expected to reach ports along the eastern seaboard of the U.S. and Canada in 2016, and Panama, Costa Rica, Galapagos, Rapa Nui, Pitcairn and French Polynesia in 2017. Meanwhile, sister ship Hikianalia will sail to the U.S. west coast and Panama in 2016, and will join Hōkūle‘a for the remaining circumnavigational journey.
During the ’70s, a Hawaiian cultural renaissance began to flourish, thanks partly to the building of Hōkūle‘a — a replica of the Polynesian voyaging canoe built to test ancient methods of navigation. Since its inaugural voyage to Tahiti in 1976, Hōkūle‘a has sailed more than 160,000 miles, but crew members agree this journey has been her most ambitious undertaking to date. “Malama Honua” (“Care for the Earth) defines this worldwide voyage’s mission, with a goal of charting a new course toward sustainable practices for food, energy and global environment.
“Since we set out on our own global expansion, one of our primary goals was to be authentic ambassadors of aloha in every country we’re located in,” said Bitsy Kelley, vice president of corporate communications at Outrigger Enterprises Group, which is a key sponsor of this voyage. “We’re proud to be able to share the story of Hōkūle‘a and the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s mission of navigating toward a healthy and sustainable future with our guests and the community.” The voyage’s goal of educating the world’s community about preserving our natural resources also coincides with Outrigger Resorts’ global coral health and conservation program, OZONE (Outrigger’s zone).
In a nod to their seafaring ancestors, crew members have forgone modern navigational equipment — no compass, sextant or GPS devices, not even an iPhone — in favor of wayfinding, a traditional navigational technique that relies on gauging the position of the sun, moon and stars, taking into account variations in ocean currents and wave patterns and even the behavior of fish and birds.
“When we sail, we are surrounded by the world’s large ocean, but Earth itself is also a kind of island, surrounded by an ocean of space, Thompson added. “In the end, every single one of us—no matter what our ethnic background or nationality— is native to this planet. As the native community of Earth we should all ensure that the next century is the century of pono—of balance— between all people, all living things and the resources of our planet.”
Reprinted from the Outrigger Journey 2016-2017 in-room book.