Polynesian voyaging canoes dock in Hilo

  • Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald Crew members disembark from Hokule'a and Hikianalia after arriving at the Port of Hilo on Wednesday, April 13, 2022.

Rain poured as voyagers sailing on Hokule‘a and Hikianalia docked in Hilo on Wednesday afternoon.

After clearing customs and provisioning the voyaging canoes, the crew hopes to depart for Tahiti as early as this afternoon.


Depending on the weather, the voyage to Tahiti on the ancient sea road of Kealaikahiki will take approximately 20 days.

The “Kealaikahiki Voyage” will focus on navigational training and cultural protocol to prepare the crew and test the canoes before they embark on the Moananuiakea Voyage next year.

As part of the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s succession plan, next-generation voyaging leaders will captain and navigate the two canoes from Hilo to Tahiti.

Lehua Kamalu is captaining Hokule‘a and is the first woman to captain and navigate a canoe from Hawaii to Tahiti.

On Hikianalia, Pwo navigator Bruce Blankenfeld will be training two captains, Kaniela Lyman-Mersereau and Kaleo Wong.

The deep-sea leg is designed to train crew who will become the captains and navigators who lead the Moananuiakea Voyage.

While in French Polynesia, voyaging leaders also will be participating in the Blue Climate Summit, a high-level meeting to discuss ocean protection and climate change.

After arriving in Hilo on Wednesday, voyagers were unable to talk to the public since they are quarantining together after a crew member, who participated in training last week and stayed behind, tested positive for COVID-19.

All crew members who conducted that training tested negative before setting sail to Hilo.

Those interested can track the voyage and learn more about Polynesian Voyaging Society at hokulea.com.

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