Indigenous people from Hawai‘i are traveling around the Pacific Ocean by canoe.
If this seems impossible -- it certainly did to me -- your mental image of the word canoe may need an update. This is a deep-sea voyaging canoe.
Members of the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) are traveling in a deep-sea voyaging canoe called Hōkūleʻa, built in the tradition of ancient Hawaiian double-hulled voyaging ships. Hōkūleʻa, built in Hawai'i and launched in 1975, has already sailed 140,000 miles around the Pacific during its lifetime.
Now, this 62-foot long, 20-foot wide sailing ship, along with a sister ship named Hikianalia, is on a 47-month journey, circumnavigating the ocean. In this 43,000-mile odyssey called Moananuiākea, the PVS will visit 36 countries and archipelagoes -- 345 ports in almost 100 Indigenous territories.
The PVS has shared these objectives of Moananuiākea.
Voyaging Tradition: Perpetuating our voyaging heritage to ensure it is never lost again.Global Navigators: Activating millions of “planetary navigators” who will pursue critical and inspiring “voyages” to ensure a better future for the earth.Wa‘a Honua: Bringing millions of learners of all ages with us through our third canoe, to create change and move us toward a healthier ocean and planet.Our Ocean, Our Home: Exploring and sharing the magnificence of the world’s largest ocean, which breathes life into all of earth’s systems, and amplifying the movement to care for it, because life on earth will not be healthy without a healthy ocean.
I became aware of Moananuiākea when the Hōkūleʻa landed in Haida Gwaii. Our library system has four branches in Haida Gwaii, and one of my co-workers grew up there. But only when I explored the Hōkūle'a website did I learn that Port Hardy is a stop on the journey!
I encourage you to explore the Hōkūle'a website. You can read about voyaging canoes, Polynesian wayfinding techniques, and so many other fascinating threads of this event. And of course, you can follow the journey.
Hōkūleʻa first traveled by container ship to Washington State, then by barge to Juneau, Alaska. From Juneau, Moananuiākea was launched, sailing first to Yakutat, Alaska, then several ports along the southeastern Alaskan coast.
This is a rough schematic of the planned route.
You can just make out Haida Gwaii (top circle) and Vancouver Island (bottom circle).
On a purely selfish note, I will be away for part of September, and I'm hoping hoping hoping that Moananuiākea will touch down in Port Hardy before I leave. There's no way to know exactly when the expedition will land in any port, as weather, crew health, activities at each stop, and other factors will all figure in.
From what I can tell, they should be in Port Hardy in August or early September, but there's no way to really know. If at all possible, I will attend their touchdown and any public ceremonies that are announced, camera in hand.