Hokulea sets sail for unfamiliar, challenging waters on Bali voyage

Still courtesy of Polynesian Voyaging Society/Oiwi TV

Hawaii’s voyaging canoe Hokulea has left Darwin in northern Australia and is now on her way to Bali.

This is the latest leg of “Malama Honua,” Hokulea’s voyage around the world, and is expected to include several significant firsts, and a few challenges.

Crew members aboard the canoe prepared for the long journey ahead by cleaning the kitchen, loading the food and ensuring an ample water supply is on board.

The crew consists of 13, including two apprentice navigators Lehua Kamalu, who will take the lead for the first four days, and Jenna Ishii, who will navigate the next four.

“It’s going to be very interesting to see where they think they are in relation to where they really are longitude wise,” said Hokulea captain Nainoa Thompson. “Cause there’s no way to really fix your longitude, right, there’s no way plus you don’t know the current.”

Thompson adds that the Bali voyage definitely marks a first for Hokulea.

“For the first time we’ll be going into the Indian Ocean, the Pacific is big, it’s deep it’s cold, it’s relatively safe, the Indian is completely the opposite,” Thompson said. “It’s shallow, it’s small and it’s hot, but it’s an ocean that we look forward to crossing. It’s challenging.”

It will be especially challenging for the navigators since the crew will be sailing over underwater mountain ridges, some areas shallow, some with reefs and huge oil rigs to look out for in their 960-mile journey.

Thompson says the journey will be one to the land of ancestral family. Bali and Hawaii share a history of ancient seafarers from the same origin, and even some similarities in language.

The Hokulea captain adds that by deliberately choosing mostly young crew members on this leg, the family ties endure.

“You plant the seed and the hope that we’ll have a better world because we connected with people across the planet and those relationships will be carried on after the canoe leaves,” Thompson said.

Arrival in Bali is expected around August 1.

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