Hōkūleʻa Greeted by Tens of Thousands
With tens of thousands of people lining the banks of Magic Island and more on shorelines, sidewalks, piers and docks there were no reported incident in the water during the four-hour-long parade of wa’a leading to the Hōkūleʻa’s temporary overnight mooring off Magic Island. Hundreds of others in canoes then greeted the vessel as it was being tied up.
A months-long, highly coordinated effort between federal, state, and city and county law enforcement and water safety agencies ensured the trouble and injury-free homecoming.
Today commanders and officers coordinated the safe passage of eight Polynesian voyaging canoes from their command post at the old Ala Wai fuel dock. Participating law enforcement and water safety agencies were the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement, the Honolulu Police and Fire Departments, the US Coast Guard, the City and County of Honolulu’s Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services Division, and the DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation.
The agencies deployed a large fleet of boats and jet skis to maintain a safety perimeter around the large sailing canoes as they were under tow from the open ocean into the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor and to Magic Island.
On a few occasions officers and ocean safety personnel had to warn other watercraft to respect the safety zone and asked people who’d jumped into the water to get back up on the bank. Dozens of people were involved in the success of today’s homecoming. They were still on the scene this afternoon, with plans to escort seven of the wa’a back out of the harbor early this (Saturday) evening.
A symbol of cultural revival, the history of Hōkūleʻa is also being shared on this journey to inspire other indigenous cultures. This replica of an ancient Polynesian voyaging canoe was built 40 years ago and revitalized voyaging and navigation traditions throughout the Pacific.
The canoe’s twin hulls allow her to handle large ocean swells and recover easily in the troughs of waves, and her triangular canvas sails can harness winds up to 20 knots. Hōkūleʻa first set out on the Pacific Ocean in 1976.
Through the revival of the traditional art and science of wayfinding-navigating the sea guided by nature using the ocean swells, stars, and wind, Hōkūleʻa sparked a Hawaiian cultural renaissance and has reawakened the world’s sense of pride and strength as voyagers charting a course for our Island Earth.
Since departing Hawaiian waters in May 2014, Hōkūleʻa has sailed more than 31,000 nautical miles and made stops in 16 countries, weaving a “Lei of Hope” around the world. Along the way, more than 200 volunteer crewmembers have helped to sail Hōkūleʻa to spread the message of Mālama Honua (or taking care of Island Earth) by promoting sustainability and environmental consciousness, as well as exchanging ideas with the countries she has visited.