Pwo navigator and president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society Nainoa Thompson was honored Saturday evening in New York City with the 2017 Explorers Club Medal, the most prestigious recognition in exploration.
The medal is awarded annually to select individuals for their extraordinary contributions directly in the field of exploration, scientific research, or to the welfare of humanity.
Thompson was recognized for his historic work to revive and perpetuate Polynesian wayfinding and for leading the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage as captain and navigator of iconic sailing canoe Hokulea. To date, the voyaging canoe has sailed over 31,000 nautical miles around the world.
Hokulea is currently on her way to the Marquesas Islands. The canoe’s last stop will be in Tahiti where she will meet up with her sister canoe, Hikianalia, and sail back to Hawaii together on the final leg of the worldwide voyage.
In addition to Thompson, Andre Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard received the Explorers Club Medal for Solar Impulse, a solar-powered airplane circumnavigation project that has raised public awareness and encouraged political actions in favor of clean technologies and energy efficiency around the world. The plane had an extended stay on Oahu in 2015-16 as part of its international flight plan.