Globetrotting Hokule’a to Land in Hampton Roads

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Globetrotting Hokule’a to Land in Hampton Roads

The Hokule’a, a Polynesian voyaging canoe, will visit the Chesapeake Bay region in April.

Hawaiian double hulled sailing canoe arriving in Honolulu from Tahiti

Hokule’a. © Phil Uhl/Wikimedia Commons

By Jonathon Lubrano, VCPC graduate research fellow 

A Polynesian voyaging canoe named Hokule’a—which means “star of gladness” in Hawaiian—is currently circumnavigating the globe without using any modern navigation equipment. The Polynesian Voyaging Society, which built this vessel in 1975, has travelled from Hawaii to South Africa to South America. It will make its way up to North America in the spring. Hokule’a was built to demonstrate the sailing prowess of ancient Polynesians, who used such canoes to navigate the Pacific Oceans more than 2,000 years ago.

This global voyage is named Mālama Honua, meaning “to care for our Earth.” The journey began in Hawaii in 2013. As the crew circles the globe, they will be stopping at “hope spots,” areas that exemplify the innovative spirit and initiative necessary to care for our Earth as we move into a future faced with the challenges of climate change.

Under the leadership of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), the Virginia Coastal Policy Center and the Anthropology Department of William & Mary will host the Hokule’a’s visit to the Chesapeake Bay region in April. The canoe and its crew will visit Newport News, Yorktown, and Tangier Island.

To learn more about this project contact Kirk Havens at VIMS at kirk@vims.edu. Hosting Hokule’a is made possible by funding from William & Mary’s Commonwealth Center for Energy & Environment.