DANA POINT— The Hokule’a, an authentic Polynesian deep-sea voyaging canoe, will be in port at Ocean Institute from Nov. 4-7 to educate the public about ancient Hawaiian navigation techniques and how they affect ocean stewardship.
The Hokule’a was built in the tradition of ancient Hawaiian wa’a kaulua (a double-hulled voyaging canoe) and is 62 feet long and 20 feet wide. The Hokule’a was designed and built by the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) in the 1970s to revive and preserve the traditional Polynesian art of wayfinding and voyaging. The canoe was modeled after ancient Polynesian designs, particularly those of traditional Hawaiian canoes, and incorporates traditional techniques and materials. Launched in Honolulu on Mar. 8, 1975, she has sailed more than 140,000 nautical miles across the Pacific.
The name “Hokule’a” means “Star of Gladness” or “Arcturus” in the Hawaiian language, referencing a star used for navigation. The Hokule’a symbolizes the Hawaiian cultural renaissance, a vessel that pays homage to the ancient Polynesian navigators who used only the stars, winds and natural signs to navigate the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean. The Hokule’a has been instrumental in reviving and preserving traditional Polynesian navigation techniques with a goal of reconnecting indigenous communities across the Pacific and sharing knowledge about traditional navigation and stewardship of the ocean. The Hokule’a project seeks to demonstrate and teach these traditional navigational skills.
The Hokule’a gained widespread attention in 1976 when it successfully completed a historic voyage from Hawaii to Tahiti using traditional wayfinding techniques without the aid of modern navigation instruments. This voyage helped to prove the viability of ancient Polynesian navigation methods.
In subsequent years, the Hokule’a has undertaken various voyages, both in the Pacific and worldwide, to promote cultural exchange, environmental awareness and the importance of sustainability. Notably, from 2014 to 2017, the Hokule’a embarked on the “Malama Honua” Worldwide Voyage, circumnavigating the globe and visiting numerous countries to highlight the importance of caring for the Earth and its oceans.
The Hokule’a remains an emblem of cultural pride in Hawaiian and wider Polynesian communities.
During its stay at Ocean Institute, the Hokule’a will play host to several activities designed to demonstrate traditional Polynesian customs, beginning at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 4 with the arrival ceremony. The Hokule’a will be welcomed with a water salute by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and escorted into the harbor by the Ocean Institute’s RV Sea
Explorer and members of local canoe clubs.
From 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., there will be a welcome ceremony in the Ocean Institute courtyard, with speeches, cultural tributes and ceremonial dances to celebrate the occasion. The festivities continue Nov. 5, from 9 to 11 a.m. and from 2 to 4 p.m., with Hokule’a Dockside Canoe Tours. Visitors may come aboard to meet the Hokule’a crew and learn about the Hokule’a and the Moananuiakea Voyage, an
expedition that began in 2013, with the intention of circumnavigating the world using ancient navigation methods.
Dockside Tours also are available on Nov. 6, from 9 to 11 a.m. and from 1 to 5 p.m., and on Nov. 7, from 9 to 11 a.m.
The evening of Nov. 6, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., will feature a Hokule’a presentation, “Meet the Crew.” Visitors will hear firsthand stories about the Moananuiakea Voyage and offer a deeper look at Hawaiian traditions.
Admission to all of the activities is free, but reservations are required. For additional details, go to www.oceaninstitute.org.