UPDATE: Hokulea, Hikianalia expected to leave Hilo on Friday

Weather has once again delayed the departure of Hokulea and Hikianalia.

The voyaging canoes were originally supposed to leave Hilo on Saturday for the first leg of Malama Honua, their worldwide voyage, but departure was delayed due to a lack of proper wind conditions.

Now, the Polynesian Voyaging Society said the canoes won’t leave until Friday, when trade winds are expected to pick up.

“This is a really unusual weather pattern,” said PVS president and master navigator Nainoa Thompson. “We designed the sail plan to be a summer feature with a high pressure established that brings very stable, very predictable winds that you can forecast at least a week out. We don’t have that.”

“Delaying departure is a common thing for us because of safety,” said navigator Keahi Omai. “We don’t want to leave where the winds can be so strong where someone can get hurt. If we were just to leave Hilo, and there was no wind, we would just be floating in the bay for a day or two.”

The canoes are bound for Tahiti, the first of 26 countries that will be visited over the course of three years.

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