The Polynesian Voyaging Society is planning its next multi-year journey and educational campaign.
Contingent on the state of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Moananuiakea Voyage will take voyaging canoes Hokule‘a and Hikianalia to 46 countries and archipelagos, visiting nearly 100 indigenous territories and 345 ports. The 41,000-mile circumnavigation of the Pacific is anticipated to take 42 months.
Focused on the vital importance of oceans, nature and indigenous knowledge, while developing young crew members, navigators and leaders, the goal of the voyage is to engage communities around the world to take part in navigating the Earth toward a healthy, thriving future.
Planning for the voyage and its educational initiatives began 2.5 years ago, prior to the onset of the pandemic. This year, after several delays due to shut downs and new safety protocols, work is back underway with preparation of the vessels and crew training.
“We want to be respectful to this global pandemic and its impacts on communities we are hoping to sail to, so although we continue to prepare to voyage, COVID has changed how we do everything,” said Nainoa Thompson, Pwo navigator and president of PVS. “We have also been searching and having many conversations about how Hokule‘a and the voyaging family can make a positive contribution and help Hawaii and its people during these very difficult times.”
The circumnavigation of the Pacific is tentatively set to start from Alaska in spring 2022. The canoes will return to Honolua Bay, Maui, on May 1, 2026, the 50th anniversary of Hokulea’s 1976 maiden voyage to Tahiti.
Prior to circumnavigating the Pacific, PVS is hoping to sail Kealaikahiki, the ancient sea road connecting Hawaii and Tahiti, this spring to train young crew members and navigators, and to ask permission at the navigational heiau of Taputapuatea to embark on the Moananuiakea Voyage.
Upon returning from Tahiti, the canoes will sail around the Hawaiian Islands to connect with local communities before departing Hawaii for more than three years.
The Moananuiakea Voyage will also create a network of “navigators” in communities around the Pacific and, by way of a virtual “Third Canoe,” the world. The “Third Canoe” is a platform of communications and education initiatives that will allow room on the deck for a global “crew” of partners.
The society hopes the initiative will inspire people to action and to make good choices around the Pacific and the world. Partners including Aha Moananuiakea Pacific Consortium (Kamehameha Schools, University of Hawaii and Bishop Museum), Arizona State University, Planetary Health Alliance, Ocean Elders and Nia Tero are already developing programs that will scale the educational impact and reach of the Pacific Voyage.
“Whether our two canoes are able to physically sail or not, the virtual “Third Canoe” will still go,” said Thompson. “With partnerships and modern technology, we can still commit to a global voyaging campaign that engages, educates and inspires a movement of caring for people, culture, place and oceans.”
In the meantime, PVS is in the beginning phases of reaching out to the countries along the tentative voyage route to seek permission to visit and engage during the sail, a PVS protocol practiced prior to each voyage.
The Moananuiakea Voyage follows the historic three-year Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage during which Hokule‘a and Hikianalia visited more than 150 ports in 18 nations before returning to Hawaii in 2017.
For more information, visit www.hokulea.com.