Maui News

Hikianalia Departs for California After Nearly 3 Week Weather Delay

August 18, 2018, 2:43 PM HST
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After a nearly three-week weather delay, Polynesian voyaging canoe Hikianalia departed Sand Island, Honolulu at 7 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018 for San Francisco, California.  The departure officially launches the Aluhula Kai O Maleka Hikianalia California Voyage.

A crowd of about 100 family members and supporters were at the dock of the Marine Education Training Center this morning to see the canoe and her 13 crew members off as they embarked on the 2,800-mile deep sea ocean crossing, which will take approximately 30 days.

The voyage will continue the Mālama Honua campaign to inspire action toward an environmentally and culturally thriving world. The wind and solar-powered canoe, which will be captained and navigated by Lehua Kamalu, is scheduled to arrive at the coast of Northern California by mid-September 2018. The timing of the arrival of Hikianalia is planned to coincide with the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco among other California events. Weather-permitting, a welcome ceremony and celebration will take place on Sunday, September 16, at Aquatic Park in San Francisco. After engagements in San Francisco, Hikianalia will sail down the coast of California to San Diego and connect with communities along the way. The canoe is expected to return to Hawaii in December 2018.

While sailing to California on a vessel powered by wind and sun, the crew will demonstrate the important relationship between humanity and nature as the crew navigates their way to California using cues from the stars, wind and ocean, rather than a GPS or other modern navigational instruments. As the issue of climate change is at the forefront in the Bay Area as San Francisco hosts the Global Climate Action Summit, Hikianalia and crew will bring a message from Hawaiʻi about the importance of caring for the oceans and Island Earth. Polynesian Voyaging Society president and pwo navigator Nainoa Thompson has been invited by California Governor Jerry Brown to speak at the Summit’s session focused on “Healthy Oceans.” The Global Climate Action Summit, Sept. 12-14, 2018, will bring together leaders from around the world and endeavors for deeper worldwide commitments and accelerated action from countries that can put the world on track to prevent dangerous climate change.

Additional purposes of the voyage are to connect, learn and share the Mālama Honua message with schools and communities in California; continue developing the next generation of voyaging captains, navigators and crewmembers; and to share the story of Hikianalia, a canoe that blends ancient wisdom and modern solutions to address the environmental and cultural issues of today.


PVS is working with partners such as the Ocean Voyages Institute, Nature Conservancy and Education Incubator to conduct science projects while on the voyage. Crewmember Hye Jung Kim, science and education specialist, will collect a 1/2 liter of water a day while at sea for testing once the canoe arrives in San Francisco. The Ocean Voyages Institute ( also provided the crew with tracking devices that will be tagged on to large garbage pieces found in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The crew also will be checking the stomach content of fish and taking dorsal fin samples during the voyage. The crew will be doing regular navigation, science and education updates that will be posted on and on social media: Facebook and Instagram, @hokuleawwv.


Below are the canoe and crew engagements that have been scheduled to date. All events are subject to change, so please check for the latest updates:

Sept. 15, 4:00-5:30 p.m. — Presentation by Navigator Nainoa Thompson, Capuchino High School’s Samuel Johnson, Jr. Performing Arts Center in San Bruno. Sponsored by Hawaii Chamber of Commerce of Northern California, Pacific Islanders Cultural Association, and Northern California Outrigger Canoe Association. Click here for ticket information.

Sept. 16 — San Francisco Arrival Ceremony & Celebration, Aquatic Park Cove


Late Sept. to Dec. — To be announced — Community engagements along the California coast, between San Francisco and San Diego

Because the West Coast of the United States was not part of the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, the Polynesian Voyaging Society and crew are looking forward to engaging with the California communities. While Hikanalia is sailing to California, Hōkūleʻa will remain in the Hawaiian Islands to complete the Mahalo, Hawaiʻi Sail. The last time PVS sailed to San Francisco was for Hokulea’s 1995 California Voyage when thousands greeted the voyaging canoe as she sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge.

Meaning of Voyage Name: Alahula Kai o Maleka

Alahula Kai o Maleka honors the “frequented pathway,” alahula, across the “ocean between Hawaiʻi and California,” kai o Maleka, over the past 150 years. Kai o Maleka, literally “sea of America,” is a traditional reference to the Pacific waterway connecting the Hawaiian Islands and the West Coast. Whether for school, to visit family, to work, to settle, or to simply find a new life, this ocean path to the American coastal gateway has been well traveled for generations. Since the turn of the 20th century, telegraph, telephone and fiber optic cables have crossed this waterway to enable two-way communication between Hawaiʻi, the continental U.S., and the entire world. And for over three-quarters of a century, this familiar path has been traversed conveniently by air eventually replacing oceanic transport. It is also within this kai o Maleka that we stumble into the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – the plastic archipelago of synthetic waste products from modern human activity.

Alahula refers to any path that is well known and well travelled, a familiar route that is time-honored and revered. Dreams, fears, love, money, knowledge, ambition, politics – all of these have lured people back and forth along the kai o Maleka waterway. Visitors travel this path. Ideas are exchanged across this path. Hostility and hope have taken this path. Whatever reasons we have for traveling this alahula, feelings for Hawaiʻi always tug at our heart. Inevitably we find ourselves returning along this sea road from the West Coast, and back to our beautiful island home – whether in person or in spirit.

As we seek permission from California’s First Peoples to enter their ancestral lands, we acknowledge an indigenous kinship, and strive for spiritual oneness between the sacred environment and its caretakers, humankind.

We dedicate this sail to all of the vibrant California-based communities of Hawaiʻi islanders who have represented the heart and soul of Hawaiʻi for over 150 years. We also celebrate the many island-continent relationships that reflect a shared vision for a sustainable Island Earth, a thriving future for our children, and a global consciousness towards human kindness. This sail in the fall of 2018 is critical as we develop younger generation leadership and prepare for an unprecedented trans-Pacific voyage in 2020. For now, we invite you to join us on this exciting West Coast journey: Alahula Kai o Maleka – Hikianalia California Voyage.

Hikianalia’s departure for California 8.18.18. PC: Polynesian Voyaging Society

Hikianalia’s departure for California 8.18.18. PC: Polynesian Voyaging Society

Hikianalia’s departure for California 8.18.18. PC: Polynesian Voyaging Society

Hikianalia’s departure for California 8.18.18. PC: Polynesian Voyaging Society

Hikianalia’s departure for California 8.18.18. PC: Polynesian Voyaging Society

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