Maui News

Hōkūle‘a Reaches the US Virgin Islands in the Caribbean

March 1, 2016, 8:42 AM HST
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Hōkūle‘a on its arrival to the US Virgin Islands. Courtesy photo: PVS.

Hōkūle‘a on its arrival to the US Virgin Islands. Courtesy photo: PVS.

The Polynesian voyaging canoe, Hōkūle‘a made another monumental touchpoint, reaching the US Virgin Islands in the Caribbean on Sunday morning.

The arrival marks the canoe’s first landing in a US territory since Hōkūle‘a visited Pago Pago in American Samoa in October 2014.

Captain and Pwo navigator Kalepa Baybayan said the crew is looking to engage with residents to exchange ideas of Mālama Honua, of preservation and cultivation of precious resources.

While in St. John, the crew will also participate in outreach opportunities with the Virgin Islands National Park and the Coral Reef National Monument.

The leg from Brazil to the USVI is a homecoming for Polynesian Voyaging Society Chief Operating Officer and crewmember Heidi Guth, who was born on Maui but raised in the USVI.
“Being able to connect two of my homes and families by having Hōkūle‘a visit St. John during the Centennial of the National Park Service and the 60th Anniversary of the Virgin Islands National Park is an unbelievable dream,” said Guth. “I’m also excited about the opportunity to share and exchange ideas on caring for each of coastal homes, our oceans and out Island Earth. We have a common interest in natural and cultural perpetuation,” she added.
While in the Caribbean, Hōkūle‘a and her crew also hope to learn more about and highlight environmental efforts such as the Caribbean Challenge, an initiative that focuses on the conservation of biodiversity within the Caribbean’s national protected areas and other areas of environmental significance. The goals of the initiative include effectively conserving and managing at least 20% of the Caribbean’s marine and coastal environment by the year 2020, and establishing long-term funding resources for marine, coastal and other environmental resources.
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Since departing Hawaiian waters for the Worldwide Voyage, the Hōkūle‘a has sailed more than 21,500 nautical miles.

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The vessel is scheduled to arrive in New York City by June 8, 2016 to be part of the United Nations’ World Oceans Day.

Hōkūle‘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.

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