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Lahaina teacher joins the Hokule‘a in New York

By BY CINDY SCHUMACHER - | Jun 16, 2016

Hokule‘a’s current stop on its Worldwide Voyage is New York City. PHOTO BY BRYSON HOE.

LAHAINA – Mary Anna Grimes, an eighth grade teacher at Sacred Hearts School in Lahaina, is meeting up with the Hokule’a in New York.

For a period of time, Grimes lived on her own 30-foot sailboat while traveling throughout the Pacific. This personal sailing opportunity prepared her for the flexibility and adaptability needed to be a crewmember on the Hokule’a voyaging canoe.

“Hokule’a sailed into my life in 2003 when I was earnest to learn, along with my eighth grade students, about the amazing life and vision of this canoe and what she represented,” said Grimes. “The more I learned, the more amazed I became with her past voyages and, more importantly, the ports for which she was bound.”

Being involved as a crewmember on the Hokule’a Worldwide Voyage has expanded her grasp of the vastness and importance of revolutionizing education.

“My experience as education specialist on the 2014 Samoa leg of the voyage gave me and my students the opportunities to change our perception of what school is and the limitless possibilities of what school can be!”

“My experience during the 2014 Samoa leg on Hokule‘a’s Worldwide Voyage, as an education specialist, expanded my grasp of the vastness and importance of revolutionizing teaching,” said Mary Anna Grimes.

Grimes is currently in New York as a ready crewmember and volunteer in spreading the message of the present Hokule’a four-year voyage to “Malama Honua” – to care for our Island Earth.

“I volunteered to do outreach with schools, organizations, clubs and with the general public to share the importance of the voyage,” she said.

In honor of the arrival of the Hokule’a coinciding with World Oceans Day, The Explorers Club United Nations Committee celebrated a special Presidential Dinner featuring Master Navigator Nainoa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, along with crewmembers Lehua Kamalu and Jenna Ishii, on Friday, June 10, at the Explorers Club in New York City.

“The crew returned Club Flag #124, which they carried on multiple legs of the worldwide journey,” said Grimes. “Several foreign dignitaries and other notable attendees joined the proceedings, where the Hawaiian Air Serenaders and Dancers performed live.”

A symbol of cultural revival, the history of Hokule’a was shared to inspire other indigenous cultures. This replica of an ancient Polynesian voyaging canoe was built 40 years ago and revitalized voyaging and navigation traditions throughout the Pacific.

“The canoe also sparked a reawakening of Hawaiian culture, language and identity,” said Grimes. “Her name, ‘Hokule’a,’ means ‘star of gladness.’ In Hawaiian, it refers to Arcturus, a guiding zenith star for Hawaiian navigators.

“Arcturus passes directly overhead at Hawaii’s latitude, helping sailors find the islands.”

Hokule’a first set out on the Pacific Ocean in 1975. Since then, she has traveled to multiple countries across the globe, reawakening a Hawaiian cultural renaissance in the process through reviving the traditional art of wayfinding – navigating the sea guided by nature, using the ocean swells, stars and wind.

The canoe’s twin hulls allow her to handle large ocean swells and recover easily in the troughs of waves, and her triangular canvas sails can harness winds up to 20 knots.

“My plan is to be in New York until Hokule’a’s departure on June 19th,” Grimes said. “Then, I will join the crew in Mystic Seaport, Connecticut on June 23 through June 27th and in Martha’s Vineyard until July 1st.

“I am still so excited to be part of this historical voyage which honors the traditional Polynesian art of non-instrumental navigating.”