Kealaikahiki update: Hōkūleʻa crew sights Arutua, arrives in Rangiroa, French Polynesia
Tahitians planning major welcome ceremony in Papeete; Watch Live on Saturday starting 1 pm on Tahiti Nui TV
After 17 days at sea sailing down Kealaikahiki, the ancient sea road to Tahiti, the Hōkūleʻa Crew sighted Arutua, one of 80 islands and atolls in the Tuamotu Archipelago of French Polynesia.
The crew spotted Arutua, an atoll about 19 miles long and and 15 miles wide, at sunrise yesterday and then proceeded to Rangiroa where they arrived in the afternoon on the beach of Papiro Bay, near the village of Avatoru.
After clearing customs and immigration, the 22 crew members of Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia, were greeted with a traditional cultural ceremony conducted by the community members of Rangiroa.
The canoes were scheduled to depart for Papeete Friday morning where they will be welcomed with a cultural ceremony organized at Hōkūleʻa Beach and in the gardens of Paofai, the location where Hōkūleʻa first arrived 46 years ago on her historic maiden voyage to Tahiti in 1976.
The event will begin tomorrow at 1 p.m. and will continue throughout the day culminating with a free concert at 6 p.m. The entire arrival of the canoes and the welcoming ceremony will be broadcast on Tahiti Nui TV, live TV & WEB.
This is the eighth time that Hōkūleʻa has traveled this route between the Hawaiian Islands and Tahiti, and each time she has stopped in the Tuamotu Islands. In 2014, she stopped in Arutu.