Voyaging canoe Hawaiiloa returns to water after 11 years

Hawaiiloa at Keehi Marine Center

For the first time in 11 years, the voyaging canoe Hawaiiloa entered the ocean. Volunteers set her in the water at Keehi Marine Center Monday.

Hawaiiloa was built in the early 1990s. At the time, there were no koa trees large enough for her hulls, so native Alaskans donated two large logs. Over time, the wood cracked and rotted so she was pulled out of the water.

Volunteers with the non-profit Friends of Hokulea and Hawaiiloa spent more than four years restoring her.

“A number of these people sailed her to Tahiti so it’s heartwarming for all of us,” said Billy Richards, president of Friends of Hokulea and Hawaiiloa. “We’re really appreciative of everybody coming down and enjoying the time with us and enjoying putting Hawaiiloa back in the ocean where it belongs.”

Many crews on later legs of the worldwide voyage will be training on Hawaiiloa after Hokulea and Hikianalia leave in May.

Click here for more information on Hawaiiloa.

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