The crew of the Hawaii voyaging canoe Hokule’a was home again Monday after sailing more than 14,000 miles to Easter Island and back, her crew guided only by the stars and ocean currents.
Hokule’a, a wood-and-fiberglass replica of canoes used by ancient Polynesians to settle the Pacific about 2,000 years ago, arrived on the island of Molokai. The canoe left Hawaii June 15 and arrived at Easter Island, which the 15-member crew calls Rapa Nui, on Oct. 8.
Master navigator Nainoa Thompson said there is a lot of cleanup work and the crew will stay on Molokai for two days. A huge celebration is planned on Oahu on March 12 to mark the 25th anniversary of Hokule’a’s launching.
Thompson said the crew was elated. “The fact that we’re bringing Hokule’a home from a very long 14,000-mile trip to Rapa Nui is one huge relief that we did it without any injuries,” Thompson said.
The Hokule’a has been a potent symbol for Hawaiians since the mid-1970s, when its crews proved that ancient Hawaiians could use the stars to navigate the Pacific. Its journeys to Tahiti, New Zealand and the Marquesas Islands revived pride in Hawaiian culture.