Hokulea prepares to begin its epic voyage

Last minute preparations were made for the Hokulea and Hikianalia (her guide vessel) as they rested dockside Saturday at the Marine Training and Education Center on Sand Island.

Before embarking on their round-the-world, 47,000 mile journey, it was a time of reflection for just some of those who had this dream years ago.

Noted oceanographer Jean-Michel Cousteau said the world is at a tipping point. “We’ve had the privilege that we’ve had, but at the expense of the future generations,” he said. “That can change, and the Hokulea, thanks to the people that are supporting it, this adventure, this trip, is going to make a big difference.”

Other speakers at Saturday’s press conference talked about the educational importance of the three-year voyage.

“Truly, it is our kuleana to sail with Hokulea and Hikianalia in mind, body and heart,” said Randie Fong of Kamehameha Schools, “as we return to our sacred homelands throughout Polynesia, and like our ancestors, dare to sail beyond, way beyond.”

One of the major contributors to the voyage was the James and Abigail Campbell Family Foundation. Foundation president Wendy Crabb reflected on a recent visit she made to a classroom where students, who may never have the chance to actually sail on the double-hulled canoe, “had transformed their classroom into Hokulea, and so their vision of where they could go in the world was boundless.”

Voyage navigator Nainoa Thompson introduced a number of captains at the press conference who will guide both sailing canoes on their way around the world, but he said “this voyage is not our voyage. This voyage is many voyages, by many people’s hearts and thoughts and minds. It’s allowing that creativity to happen because they have hope.”

And he applauded the efforts of those around the world are doing their best to help Mother Earth.

“When they are in our coral reefs, when they’re in our watersheds, when they’re in our streams, when they’re there to protect with native knowledge,” Thompson said, “because the earth needs it.”

Noted singer-songwriter, environmentalist and frequent Hawaii visitor Jackson Browne is on board as well in a metaphorical sense.

“(Hokulea) represents the voyage of humanity into the future and has the potential to unite people of every kind, of every race and of every economic station,” he said.

Nainoa Thompson ended the press conference with the words that explorers, adventurers, sailors have said since they first started looking toward the horizon.

“And we’re going, we’re going. It’s time to go,” he said to applause.

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