The “Hokule‘a,” under captain and navigator Nainoa Thompson, and the escort boat “Kama Hele,” under captain Mike Taylor, with good wind to fill the sails, sunshine and calm seas, arrived at Uwajima, Ehime Prefecture at about 9 p.m. Hawai‘i time Sunday. They arrived after a 10 hour crossing of the Inland Sea.
After an arrival ceremony, the crew of 20 on Hokule‘a and five on Kama Hele were treated to a welcome reception at the Uwajima City Hall and a dinner with about 400 people.
Yesterday, the crew was participating in a ceremony honoring the nine victims of the “Ehime Maru” tragedy more than six years ago. Uwajima is the homeport of the Ehime Maru. Earlier this year, on the sixth anniversary, the father of the one student never found, speaking publicly on behalf of the bereaved families, said that when Hokule‘a sails to Uwajima, she will carry home the souls of their children. At yesterday’s ceremony, the crew gave flowers to each of the victims’ families as well as a handmade 3-foot tall feather kahili created by Kaleinani Brown.
There will be a major crew change in Uwajima, for the last leg of this voyage. That seven-day leg will go from Uwajima to Yokohama, with a tentatively scheduled departure Friday, depending on weather.
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