MAALAEA - The Polynesian Voyaging Society's Hokule'a canoe that will make a four-year journey around the world to promote sustainability and showcase Hawaiian culture departed for Lahaina Friday in a continuing tour of the Hawaiian islands.
A crew of about 15 planned a day-long trip to the Lahaina area, where the voyaging canoe visited until Monday before departing to Kahoolawe; Manele, Lanai from July 3-8; and Kaunakakai, Molokai from July 8-15.
Hokule'a will return to West Maui on Aug. 18-19, stopping at Honolua Bay.
Crew on the Hokule‘a join hands for a prayer prior to departing for Lahaina on Friday. PHOTO BY NORM BEZANE.
While in Lahaina, canoe clubs ferried visitors to the vessel.
The 38-year-old canoe - completely refurnished for its long voyage - will take to the open ocean later this summer, eventually making its way around the hazardous Cape of Good Hope at the tip of Africa. Updates are posted at www.hokulea.org/.
Specially trained crews will sail the canoe for stretches of about 30 days and fly back to Hawaii to resume their lives. Replacement crews will fly to the next port to begin their own 30-day assignment.
The Hokule'a is expected to visit at least 40 ports worldwide during the four-year voyage.
The canoe will stay in each port a couple of weeks before departing for the next leg of the trip, said tugboat worker Kealoha Hoe, one of the lead members of the crew and the Hokule'a's cook.
On Friday, following an hour of preparation, stowing gear and donning safety vests, the crew gathered for a pule (prayer) before the Hokule'a silently left its slip in Maalaea Harbor. A crowd of several dozen people looked on.