Maui News

High Winds May Delay Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia’s Departure from Lahaina Until the Weekend

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Training sail through the Pailolo Channel. PC: (May 2021) Polynesian Voyaging Society.

High winds and dangerous conditions in the Alenuihaha Channel may delay Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia’s departure from Lahaina until the weekend when crew, who are watching the weather closely, anticipate a possible window by Sunday.  Until then, they have been training in the Pailolo Channel, between Maui and Molokaʻi.

“Right now it’s just too windy to cross the second roughest channel (Alenuihaha) in the world so we’re not just standing by, we’re training. And that’s why we’re here: to get young people ready for the storms of tomorrow,” said Nainoa Thompson, Pwo navigator and president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society.

“We’re not waiting. We’re training. We’re doing work every day to get young people ready for the storm. I didn’t want them to go right into the storm. I wanted them to go down to the convergence zone by the equator and to get them like a week of sea time before they go into the storm, but that’s not happening.  So we are now training to get them ready to go when nature tells us to go.  Departure time is not what’s defined on the calendar. It’s what nature says to us. It gives us the permission to leave,” said Thompson. 


Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia have been moored off of Lahaina, Maui, since Thursday, May 13, the morning after departing Honolulu for a training voyage to the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), the area of the Pacific Ocean known as “the doldrums.”  

Training sail through the Pailolo Channel. PC: (May 2021) Polynesian Voyaging Society.


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