Hokulea’s visit one that shouldn’t be missed

If you know about Hokulea — what it is, what it did, what it stands for — you don’t want to miss the chance to see it during its three-day stay on Kauai starting today.

If you don’t know about Hokulea — what it is, what it did, what it stands for — you don’t want to miss the chance to see it, either.

You get the idea: Be sure to take advantage of this opportunity to sense the spirit of this voyaging canoe as its tours the islands as part of “Mahalo, Hawaii Sail.” What you will see, what you can learn, what you may feel, really is a once-in-lifetime chance.

Voyaging canoes Hokulea and Hikianalia departed Haleiwa Boat Harbor on Oahu Saturday afternoon and are expected to arrive at the Hanalei Pier at 10 this morning, when there will be a welcoming ceremony. This is one crowd you want to be part of.

Here is the tentative schedule:

Monday

Morning: scheduled school tours and visits, by appointment only.

2:30 to 5:30 p.m.: Dockside outreach at Hanalei Bay pier, public welcome.

Evening: ‘Oahi O Makana, a Hawaiian protocol event, public viewing from Hanalei Bay to Haena areas.

Tuesday

Morning: scheduled dockside school tours and visits, by appointment only.

Evening: Hokulea tentative departure for Oahu, public welcome.

This three-day Kauai engagement is a rare chance to meet some crewmembers, who will participate with the community in events and activities that will highlight the recent Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage, as well as the work being done within Kauai communities to care for the island.

Events during the stop will include outreach opportunities, school visits, cultural exchanges and crew presentations.

This is going to be awesome and inspiring.

We urge everyone to see Hokulea, which returned home in June after traveling about 40,000 nautical miles and visiting more than 150 ports in 23 countries and territories worldwide during a three-year voyage. The journey and its impact may never be known, but for those involved, and for those monitoring this adventure, it was a chance to change the world — in a way that is intangible, far beyond the miles its covered and the ports it visited.

Dennis Chun, a Kauai Community College Hawaiian studies instructor, who became involved with the Hokulea in the 1970s, was a member of the Hokulea crew. His perspective is one we should all respect and heed:

“For me personally, it gives the world a broader understanding of Polynesians and voyaging and navigation and cultural values that could benefit worldwide. What is needed to survive out at sea, thousands of miles and be successful. That sense of aloha and that sense of caring for what’s around us in nature and how do we fit in all of that.”

Ka‘imi Hermosura, a crew member of the Namahoe, Kauai’s voyaging canoe, had this to say: “For me, Hokulea was a global movement toward peace and resource management and to malama, take care, the Earth.”

We are fortunate to have people like Steven Soltysik of Lihue, who was part of Hokulea’s support crew, educating keiki on the importance of the canoe’s voyage. He teaches them how to build replicas of the Hokulea because, as he puts it, it gives them a sense of identity and direction. “It starts with a very young child taking care of a little canoe,” he said.

The Mahalo, Hawaii Sail will take the canoes to about 40 additional ports and connect with nearly 80 communities throughout the Hawaiian Islands. It will give the Polynesian Voyaging Society an opportunity to thank Hawaii’s people, bring Hokulea and Hikianalia home to all of Hawaii, share lessons learned from the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage.

Perhaps most important, though, it will give everyone on Kauai a chance to thank some of Hokulea’s crew for their spirit, courage, sense of adventure and their desire to show this world how it can be better — how we can be better, too.

That, they certainly did.

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