Hokule‘a’s 7-week voyage to Northwestern Islands postponed

The Polynesian Voyaging Society is postponing a sail through the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands by the voyaging canoe Hokule‘a.

The cancellation is due to the breaking of the main mast of the Hokule‘a expedition’s escort boat Excaliper. Crewmembers had taken the boat out off Leeward O‘ahu for sea trials prior to the voyage, according to a report from the Polynesian Voyaging Society.

The Hokule’a was to make a stop on Kaua‘i on its way to the Northwest Islands.

“Repairs to the Excaliper and the subsequent sea trials and training would delay the expedition into a period of unpredictable fall weather,” a statement from the society said.

Nainoa Thompson, master navigator and chairman of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, met with the expedition’s partners on Thursday and together all agreed to postpone the voyage until May 2004.

“Obviously, we are very disappointed with this incident – a lot of people have put in many hours in preparation for our launch on Saturday,” Thompson said. “But we have to always respect the ocean and make plans according to her timetable, not ours. The safety of the crew aboard the Hokule‘a and the escort boat is of paramount importance and we cannot compromise that.”

The expedition is being tied into an education program called Navigating Change. The educational TV show KidScience with Patty Miller plans to still air a three-part series called Navigating Change : Expedition to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Shows are set to air on September 18 and 25 plus October 2 at 8-9 a.m. on KHET.

Thompson said the PVS will now sail the Hokule‘a within the main Hawaiian Islands this fall.

For more information go to http://www.pvs-hawaii.org for updates.

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