Hawaiian Canoe Hōkūleʻa Sets Sail for Sydney Guided by Ancient Navigation

The Hawaiian voyaging canoe Hōkūleʻa and her crew have departed New Zealand, on its way to leaving the Pacific Ocean for the first time in her 40-year history. The canoe’s master navigator, Bruce Blankenfeld, will use traditional Polynesian navigation techniques to sail to Australia. The crew of 14 are expected to arrive in Sydney in mid-May. The journey is part of Hōkūleʻa‘s 47,000 nautical-mile sail around the world to bring attention to the importance of protecting environmental and cultural treasures for future generations.

Nainoa Thompson

“Australia is on our sail plan because of its incredible natural and cultural treasures, and our desire to explore a part of the world that is new to us,” said Polynesian Voyaging Society president and master navigator, Nainoa Thompson. “It is a place that we can relate to because of the potential of bringing together diverse sectors to care for our ocean. In Hawaii, blending indigenous stewardship practices with other best practices can help us find positive ways forward, and we are seeking to learn from similar approaches in Australia so we can share that knowledge with other communities as we continue to voyage around the world.”

The current Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage is a four-year voyage spanning 85 ports, 26 nations, and 12 of UNESCO’s Marine World Heritage sites. Mālama Honua means “to care for Island Earth” and a new generation of navigators is learning to use wayfinding not only to find islands, but to help find a sustainable future. Crewmembers are gathering and sharing information from all ports about positive solutions for environmental challenges such as ocean pollution, overfishing, climate change, and sea level rise. Hōkūleʻa has covered 8,000 nautical miles and 24 Pacific Islands to date since the launch of the Worldwide Voyage in 2013.

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