Finding Ubuntu: Hawaiian Voyagers in South Africa

Taken from deck of Hōkūle'a as she sails past the island of Madagascar heading towards South Africa. (Photo by Sam Kapoi. Courtesy of Polynesian Voyaging Society)
Taken from deck of Hōkūle’a as she sails past Madagascar heading towards South Africa. (Photo by Sam Kapoi. Courtesy of Polynesian Voyaging Society)

In a few days time, the renowned voyaging canoe, Hōkūle’a, will be making its first contact with the African continent at Richards Bay, South Africa. This event carries a great deal of significance on many levels, but perhaps most notable is the fact that this will signify the youngest culture (Polynesians) arriving at the cradle of humanity where the oldest cultures of mankind originated. This reverse-migration story, or, as some people like to say, “returning to the source”, is one that many people in Hawai’i and South Africa have been looking forward to long before this voyage even began.

Hōkūle'a's live position and course as of Monday, October 12, 2015. (Courtesy of Polynesian Voyaging Society, Google Maps)
Hōkūle’a’s live position and course as of Monday, October 12, 2015. (Courtesy of Polynesian Voyaging Society, Google Maps)

As I write this, I am getting ready to depart for South Africa to join up with Hōkūle’a and the crew as they sail around the southern tip of the continent. Much of this preparation process follows a similar routine: pack voyaging clothes, prepare camera equipment, charge batteries, swim daily, practice tying knots, etc. There is comfort in these types of routines because through these acts of physical preparation, I am able to begin the more challenging process of mental preparation for a voyage at sea. This internal process ultimately entails letting go of thoughts and worries that exist on land so that I may be fully aware and present at sea. Though every crewmember has a different way of arriving at this state of being, we all tend to get there sooner or later.

<img src="http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/files/2015/10/IMG_7469-683×1024.jpg" alt="Training —> Read More

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