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Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia Visit Kalaupapa

August 29, 2013

On August 20th, 2013 the view from Kalaupapa was one into both Hawai‘i’s past and future simultaneously.   In the afternoon heat the famous Polynesian sailing canoe, Hōkūle‘a, and her sister canoe, Hikianalia, sailed into the waters just offshore from Kalaupapa Settlement.


Photo Caption: The sailing canoes anchored offshore from Kalaupapa Settlement.  T.S. Williams/NPS.


This stop was one of many to be made on the canoes’ ambitious voyage to circumnavigate the globe to learn and to teach about sustainable living practices and land and sea conservation.

As the ships sailed south to Kalaupapa along Makanlua peninsula’s west-side, conch blowers signaled the canoes’ arrival.  The call resonated to the tops of the 1,600 foot high cliffs.  The canoes anchored offshore and responded with their own conch blows.  The call and response between the peoples on land and the peoples on the sea continued for several minutes.


The crews from both vessels came ashore and were welcomed with leis and traditional chants by National Park Service and Department of Health staff, and Kalaupapa kupuna.


Photo Caption: The crews are welcomed to Kalaupapa with leis. Momi Hooper/NPS.

Later that evening crew members and Kalaupapa community members gathered at the McVeigh social hall for a feast provided by friends of the canoes and a slideshow presentation by the crew members.  The primary speaker was Nainoa Thompson, who was a member of the Hōkūle‘a’s 1976 maiden voyage.  The presentation covered the canoes’ route for the upcoming world-voyage, their history, and the message they hope to inspire in the people and places they visit along the way.  One crew member from the Hikianalia commented, “On this journey we are going to change the world by bringing attention to the climate problems that face us all.  How do we do that, you ask?  By opening hearts.”

Over the next four years, Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia, will travel to 28 different countries and stop at 85 international ports – sailing more than 45,000 nautical miles around the world.  The voyage has 22 legs planned, but the first and final are both right here in Hawaii.  “Malama Honua”, or “Care for the Earth”, is the name of the canoes’ mission.  During the long journey the crews will teach about sustainability, promote conservation and ocean protection, and conduct scientific studies of the ocean.  Crew members say that caring for the world starts here in the islands with “Malama Hawai‘i”.  Crew members say it’s about honoring our community and showing Hawai‘i’s people their gratitude.

The next morning the crews toured the Kalaupapa waste management facility, which has been recognized for its success in recycling and diverting solid waste.  After, the crew helped Kalaupapa by removing woody debris in the historic Kahaloko Cemetery that had been brought down by Tropical Storm Flossie.  The weather was hot and humid, with no wind.  Despite the conditions, the group did the same amount of work in an hour and a half that it would take one full-time worker half a week to complete.


Photo Caption: Crew members help carry downed branches and logs from the cemetery. Momi Hooper/NPS.

To conclude their visit to Kalaupapa the crews of Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia went up to the Kauhako Crater – the highest point on the peninsula.  There, prayers were made for strong winds and safe journeys.  As the crews began to board the canoes to start the next leg of their journey the hot and still day gave way to a gentle breeze, which filled the canoes’ sails and carried them beyond the horizon.

ImagePhoto Caption: The canoes set sail. T.S. Williams/NPS.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Hawaii Big Island Travel Guru permalink
    August 29, 2013 5:21 pm

    This was such a heartwarming story ~ thank you for the great narrative! Good luck Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia crews, may your travels be prosperous and safe.

  2. JJ Iruka M.L.S. S.S.S. Saitoh-Car'ee permalink
    September 16, 2013 9:56 pm

    Oh! My Hiki and Hoku, two Sweet-n-Lovely Sisters, The Wa’a Our Traditional Queen-Madame (Little-Sister) and The Vaka Our PureHighTech Princess- Penetrating Lass enjoying Our Highest Tropical Seacliffs “backside”, Our Glorious GOD’s-Country coastal sail training within the turning basin at Kalaupapa Roadsted mooring grounds… GOD-Speed unto both Complete Dialed-in Rotating Teams of HokuLe’a, and Hikianalia !! Imua Ka Ko’o/ Gambatte Nei!!! Have a most Awesome “Surfilicious-Day” Harmonix Ka Kou.

    Sail Faster Foil Safer Glide More Effortlessly, with More Fun and More Service per Dollar, Be At-One-Mentand In-Sync with Each Other; be One with the “Pulse” of the Waves,!

    Hiki-sama Keep Pulling the Apparent with Faster than the Wind Safer-n-More Efficient escort VMG with Hoku, Please stay on Pace, and remain in the groove with Seakindliness mesmerizing Sailing/Voyaging/Way-Finding Shared experiences. aloha nui jj iruka-san

  3. BEVERLY MENDHEIM permalink
    May 10, 2014 12:11 pm




    • Pacific Island Ranger permalink*
      May 14, 2014 6:51 am

      For info on the voyage, visit Aloha!


  1. Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia Visit Kalaupapa | kapa kulture

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