US Navy and the Polynesian Voyaging Society prepare for Hokule`a Return

The return of the Hokulea presents a wonderful opportunity to talk about the shared interests between both the US Navy and the Polynesian Voyaging Society.

This morning on Wake Up 2day, Miki Tomita, Director of the Polynesian Voyaging Society Learning Center, and Commander Alapaki Gomes, from U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs, joined us in studio to talk about that special bond.

Prior to the voyage, the Navy provided Search and Rescue swimming training, offered advice about the routes and dangers that might be faced, and provided volunteers, to help with some basic sanding and maintenance of the canoe. Gomes says he’s excited to honor the sailors and crews of Hokulea and congratulate them on their accomplishment.

Tomita says PVS welcomes the Navy and Coast Guard’s help in making the homecoming a success. She says they are an important part of our island ohana today, providing security and stability at sea on a global scale. At PVS, our success is in relationships; we don’t want to be everything, but we want to be connected to everybody. This approach lets us leverage the skills and energy of those, like the sailors who are taking part this weekend, and we are grateful for their help.

Gomes says the ocean connects all of us, across time, across borders, and across the globe as Hokulea has shown for the past three years. This connection presents a lot of opportunities for training together, as well as for volunteering experiences that give our sailors a sense of place. But probably the biggest opportunity lies in stimulating interest in science, technology, math, and engineering among our youth. Education and a culture of learning are critical whether on a voyaging canoe or a Navy destroyer.

Tomita says there’s a natural affinity between mariners, shared among those who have experienced the trials and triumphs of life at sea.  Inherent in life on the ocean is the process of growth in which both groups teach someone to see and do things differently, because the ocean environment has different challenges from those ashore.

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