Hokule'a departs Honolulu set for Hilo

By Paula Akana
Published On: May 29 2013 07:41:00 PM HST

Crews for the Hokulea and sister canoe Hikianalia are preparing for a worldwide voyage, starting from Hilo.

HONOLULU -

The voyaging community came together as Hokule'a set sail for Hilo Wednesday where she will begin her worldwide voyage.

Accompanied by her escort vessel Hikianalia, the crews will visit 26 countries over the next four years traveling some 47,000 miles.

They will be bringing with them the aloha spirit and the message of malama -- caring for our home.

But, more importantly, taking us all along for the trip.

"Now we have the capability to communicate, disseminate wonderful information to work to get through that media truly on a worldwide basis," said Hokule'a navigator Bruce Blankenfeld.

Hikianalia will be equipped with the latest technology that will be used by teachers around the state for special curriculum written around the voyage.

"I think it's an awesome idea.  We have a lot of aloha to share.  We have a lot," said Hokule'a navigator Ka'iulani Murphy.  "We want to learn from different parts around the world and I can't even imagine how much more enriched we'll be when we come back home."

For Blankenfeld, this voyage is new ground.  But, that is very much what Hokule'a has always been about.

"Tahiti in '76 and '80 was very much beyond our shores.  It was like new ground for everyone," said Blankenfeld.  "I think if that was any indication and if our trip to Japan was any indication of the heart and soul of Hokule'a and who she is and what she brings to communities, this is going to be very interesting."

So, as they left Honolulu, a final wave farewell as the canoes ready for the trip of a lifetime.

"And think those relations we build around the world will be very important for us to take care of our island -- earth -- and the reason for this voyage," said Murphy.

"It's about envisioning that world that we need to have and having the respect and courage to go there -- that's what this voyage is all about," said Hokule'a navigator Nainoa Thompson.

The first six months of the voyage is called Malama Hawaii.  The canoes will sail 1,000 miles and visit 30 ports.  A time to invite communities across Hawaii to visit the canoe and meet the crew before she take off for her first international destination -- Tahiti -- next year.

Click here for more information on the voyage.

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