Hōkūle‘a Crew Celebrates Equator Crossing with Ceremonial Protocol
Hōkūleʻa crossed the equator on Friday, marking an important milestone in her journey north from Tahiti back to Hawaiʻi. Having been at sea for ten days during this final international leg of the Worldwide Voyage, Hōkūleʻa crew members performed ceremonial protocol to mark the crossing.
Paying close attention to the canoe’s position relative to the elements surrounding them, the crew accurately tracked their latitude to recognize this moment entering the piko o wakea, or equatorial crossing point. “To be in this space, and to be able to confirm where we are based on what we’re seeing in the sky–and to then justify it, back it up one more time with our mileage and navigating process–has been very gratifying,” said Pua Lincoln Maielua, apprentice navigator aboard Hōkūleʻa.
The crew performed a traditional awa ceremony; one by one, each person then placed pōhaku, or stones, in the water, representing the crew member’s home and family. The ceremony fulfilled a vision by pwo (master) navigator Bruce Blankenfeld, set in motion at the beginning of the Worldwide Voyage three years ago. Now the sail master on board for this final leg of the Mālama Honua voyage, Blankenfeld led the crew to begin this new tradition. As traditional Polynesian voyaging continues to grow and flourish and as crossings occur over years and generations, sailors will continue to drop pōhaku into the ocean here in honor of this place.
Hōkūleʻa’s expected return to Hawaiʻi on June 17 will be celebrated at Magic Island with a cultural welcoming ceremony followed by a grand celebration open to the entire community. The week-long celebration will continue with the Mālama Honua Fair and Summit, a three-day event at the Hawaiʻi Convention Center, which will highlight the voyaging, cultural, environmental, educational, and health and well-being missions of the Worldwide Voyage by sharing mālama honua “stories of hope” and voyage-inspired initiatives and activities with the public.
The event’s inspirational speaker series will feature local and global speakers who have engaged with the Voyage including: Megan Smith, 3rd chief technology officer of the United States; Dieter Paulmann, founder of Okeanos Foundation for the Sea; and Ocean Elders Sylvia Earle, Jean-Michel Cousteau, and Don Walsh. Registration for these events is now open at www.hokulea.com/summit.