Maui News

Voyaging Canoe Hikianalia Reaches Northern California

September 16, 2018, 6:52 PM HST
* Updated September 17, 5:34 AM
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After 23 days of sailing, Polynesian voyaging canoe Hikianalia has arrived in Northern California. The 13-person crew traveled over 2,000 miles and arrived in the Half Moon Bay area on Tuesday.

“I am extremely proud of this crew for completing this long and challenging journey,” Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) president Nainoa Thompson said. “This was one of the most difficult, deep-sea ocean voyages in more than 43 years, and our crew demonstrated strong leadership, navigation skill and teamwork to make it a success,” Thompson added.

The  Alahula Kai o Maleka Hikianalia California Voyage was led by captain Lehua Kamalu. The navigation team includes crewmembers from four different countries, including Tamiko Fernelius from Japan, HyeJung Kim from Korea, Arii-Matatini Tamaehu from Tahiti, and Kalani Asano (US). Senior crew members include Archie Kalepa, Keala Kimura, Timi Gilliom, Kimo Lyman, Kalau Spencer, Keli Takenaga and Gary Yuen, as well as the ship medical officer Dr. Seren Tokumura.

As part of voyaging protocol, the canoe and crew will remain under “kapu” until the San Francisco Welcome Ceremony and Celebration on Sept. 16 from noon to 5 p.m. at Aquatic Park. Until then, the crew will rest and prepare the canoe for the next leg of the journey. They will also participate in local efforts towards ocean protection, including the Global Climate Action Summit and Ocean Elders meetings.

The San Francisco Welcome Ceremony and Celebration is open to the public and will feature Hawaiian music, hula, voyage-inspired merchandise, and an opportunity to meet the Hikianalia crew members. The canoe will first be welcomed and granted permission to enter the Aquatic Cove by the Muwekma Ohlone tribe, who are the traditional hosts of the region.


After an exchange of chants and ceremonial welcome rituals, the program will begin with remarks from dignitaries, local officials, community members and Hikianalia captain Lehua Kamalu. The celebration will feature entertainment by local Hawaiian performers and hula groups including Mark Keliʻihoʻomalu and the Academy of Hawaiian Arts.


The event will also feature cultural expressions from various local Native American tribes and voyage-inspired merchandise from Polynesian Voyaging Society and OluKai. Hikianalia will be open for free dockside canoe tours at Hyde Street Pier on Sept. 17 and 18 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Hawaiʻi Chamber of Commerce of Northern California will also be hosting An Afternoon with Wayfinder and Master Navigator Nainoa Thompson. The event will be held at the Samuel Johnson, Jr. Performing Arts Center in San Bruno on Saturday, Sept. 15, from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Thompson will speak about the 40-year journey of re-discovering ancient Polynesian voyaging and how it has inspired a community of leaders, empowered youth, and created a worldwide movement of global sustainability. Event details and ticket registration are available online

The port stop in San Francisco is the voyageʻs first public engagement. After the four-day visit in San Francisco, the canoe will sail to Half Moon Bay Yacht Club where it will be docked for one week. During most stops (weather permitting), the Hikianalia crew will be offering free dockside canoe tours, educational materials and activities, and crew presentations.  Below is a tentative port schedule for the California Voyage (subject to change):

  • – San Francisco – Sept. 16-19
  • – Half Moon Bay – Sept. 19-26
  • – Monterey – Sept. 27-Oct. 2
  • – Santa Barbara – Oct. 6-13
  • – Santa Cruz Island – Oct. 14-16
  • – King Harbor (Los Angeles) – Oct. 17-23
  • – Dana Point – Oct. 24-30
  • – San Diego – Oct. 31-Nov. 5

The Alahula Kai o Maleka Voyage is a part of the PVSʻ Mālama Honua campaign to inspire action toward an environmentally and culturally thriving world. According to PVS, the name of the voyage, Alahula Kai o Maleka, honors the alahula, or frequented pathway, across the ocean between Hawaiʻi and California, or kai o maleka, over the past 150 years. Kai o Maleka literally means “sea of America,” a traditional reference to the Pacific waterway connecting the Hawaiian Islands and the West Coast.

PVS said that the voyage is meant to celebrate the Polynesian communities of California; connect and share the Mālama Honua message with schools and communities; continue developing the next generation of voyaging captains, navigators and crewmembers; and to share the story of Hikianalia, a canoe that blends ancient wisdom and modern solutions to address the environmental and cultural issues of today. PVS also mentioned that as they seek permission from California’s First Peoples to enter their ancestral lands, they acknowledge an indigenous kinship, and strive for spiritual oneness between the sacred environment and humankind.

PVS said that they dedicate this sail to all of the vibrant California-based communities of Hawaiʻi islanders who have represented Hawaiʻi for over 150 years. “We also celebrate the many island-continent relationships that reflect a shared vision for a sustainable Island Earth, a thriving future for our children, and a global consciousness towards human kindness,” PVS said. “This sail in the fall of 2018 is critical as we develop younger generation leadership and prepare for an unprecedented trans-Pacific voyage in 2020, PVS said.

More information for the San Francisco Welcome Ceremony and Celebration can be found online.

For the latest updates and more information on the the Alahula Kai o Maleka Voyage, visit the Hokuleʻa website.

More information on Captain Lehua Kamalu can be found online

Hikianalia California Voyage arriving at Pillar Point Harbor in El Granada, Ca. All Rights Reserved. Image created by Chris M. Leung 2018 for the Polynesian Voyaging Society.

Pillar Point Harbor in El Granada, Ca. All Rights Reserved. Image created by Chris M. Leung 2018 for the Polynesian Voyaging Society

Hikianalia crew preparing for arrival at Pillar Point Harbor in El Granada, Ca. All Rights Reserved. Image created by Chris M. Leung 2018 for the Polynesian Voyaging Society.

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