Hōkūleʻa Sets Sail for Panama Canal

December 22, 2016, 3:58 PM HST · Updated December 22, 4:32 PM
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    The legendary voyaging canoe Hōkūleʻa and her crew departed from Key West on Wednesday morning, bound for the Panama Canal, and a historic crossover into the Pacific Ocean back towards Hawaiʻi.

    The crew of the 26th leg of the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines will continue to make way for the historic Panama Canal, where the ancient Polynesian voyaging replica will transit through the modern industrial marvel.

    During her stay in Key West, Hōkūleʻa underwent usual inspections and maintenance in preparation for the next journey. The crew left Key West around 10:10 a.m. EST and sailed through the island’s channel under tow of the ship Gershon II.

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    As she re-enters Caribbean waters, Hōkūleʻa will shift her sights for the 48-mile journey through the Panama Canal heading back to the South Pacific Ocean. “Hōkūleʻa traveling through the Panama Canal will be a sight to see and is symbolic of ancient technology meeting modern day technology,” said Hōkūleʻa captain and pwo navigator Bruce Blankenfeld.

    “We anticipate this will be a special moment for everyone aboard, and will mark another tremendous milestone for the crewmembers who have sailed this vessel to great lengths.” After the canoe’s transit through the Panama Canal, Hōkūleʻa will make stops in the Galapagos Islands, Rapa Nui and French Polynesia before her sail west back to the Hawaiian Islands.

    Hōkūleʻa is scheduled to make a celebratory homecoming at Magic Island in June 2017.

    With just under seven months to go on the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines, the Hōkūleʻa team will continue engaging communities through education, collaboration and service, sharing the message of ocean conservation and sustainability and the mission of Mālama Honua (caring for Island Earth).

    The Hōkūleʻa embarked on the Worldwide Voyage to grow a global movement toward a more sustainable world.  Since departing Hawaiian waters in May 2014, Hōkūleʻa has sailed more than 28,000 nautical miles and made stops in 15 countries.

    Pō Mahina lāʻaupau makes its way across the sky in the early morning. PC: Justyn Ah Chong/Polynesian Voyaging Society/ʻŌiwi TV.

    Lohiao Paoa tightens the lines on the boom. PC: Justyn Ah Chong/Polynesian Voyaging Society/ʻŌiwi TV.

    Amazing sun rays followed the crew throughout the day on our sail from Islamorada to Key West. PC: Justyn Ah Chong/Polynesian Voyaging Society/ʻŌiwi TV.

    Key West in the afternoon light. PC: Justyn Ah Chong/Polynesian Voyaging Society/ʻŌiwi TV.

    Brad Wong sounds the pū as we enter Key West. PC: Justyn Ah Chong/Polynesian Voyaging Society/ʻŌiwi TV.

    Crewmembers raise the hae Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian flag) upon anchoring offshore of Key West. PC: Justyn Ah Chong/Polynesian Voyaging Society/ʻŌiwi TV.

    The hae Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian flag) flying prominently in Key West. PC: Justyn Ah Chong/Polynesian Voyaging Society/ʻŌiwi TV.

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