Thursday April 26, 2018

Not GPS but Stars help the voyaging canoe, Hokule’a to travel the World

To bring back the ancient culture alive, a group of Native Hawaiians and anthropologists built Hokule'a, forty years ago, which was long forgotten

Hokule'a arrival in Honolulu from Tahiti in 1976
Hokule'a arrival in Honolulu from Tahiti in 1976, source: Wikimedia Commons

Hawaii’s famous Canoe, Hokule’a is making a journey engraving its mark on history book pages, traversing the globe by wayfinding. Ancient Polynesian wayfinding technique requires memorizing hundreds of stars from where tey rise and set on the ocean horizon.

“As a navigator, your job is to look at the shape of the ocean,” told Naiona Thompson, the president of Polynesian Voyaging Society to in an interview. “You have to be on your feet and to be able to feel one wave when it comes through from one foot to another. You only know where you are by memorizing where you come from.”

Hawaiian Voyaging Canoe Hokule'a
Hawaiian Voyaging Canoe Hokule’a, Wikimedia Commons

Onboard this east coast leg is a 12 member crew, a mix veteran native Hawaiian navigators and young, lean learners who have taken their time off as pro surfers and educators.

“This floating island is a representation of the values people should have for the islands we all live in — whether that’s Hawaii, the U.S. mainland or Tangier Island. It’s been really interesting to see how people see themselves in that message. They get it.” said Na’alehu Anthony, 36, who is a crew member.

To bring back the ancient culture alive, a group of Native Hawaiians and anthropologists built Hokule’a, forty years ago, which was long forgotten.

At the time, no one knew the celestial navigating technique, no one knew how to build voyaging canoe -for the 600 years, no voyaging canoe has existed. But a man named Mau Piailug in Micronesia, a Wayfinder taught them how to sail by following cues from nature – not only observing the stars but by observing the bird species and observing the direction of the wind.

In 1976, Mau and a group of Native Hawaiians bet their lives that they could travel from Hawaii to Tahiti on a boat without any present day navigational equipment, to prove the theory that the original people who settled on the islands of Hawaii reached there with the intention of discovering the islands and not by accident.

voyaging canoe Hokule’a at Suo Oshima channel, Japan, Wikimedia Commons

After more than a month , the team finally reached its destination. This victory evoked the hope that the Hawaiian culture is still alive. People on the island demanded that the state should start teaching the Hawaiian language in the schools again.

The Hokule’a gave them the identity.

Since 1976, 25 more sea voyaging canoes have been built across 11 countries, more than 180 crew have taken a turn aboard on global trip.

Till now, Hokule’a has traveled 26,000 miles.

“This canoe is a school that’s about relearning the genius of our ancestors, and about our reconnection to our ocean,” said Thompson, one of the crew member, in an interview conducted by “This voyage is not my vision. It’s that of my teachers. I’m just a bridge between them and” — he points to his young crew — “them.”

This voyage would be the last voyage for Thompson and other elder crew members. After that, a new generation of Wayfinders will come onboard and will guide the canoe ahead.

-by Akanksha Sharma

Akanksha Sharma is a student of Journalism and an intern at Newsgram. Twitter @Akanksha4117


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The Very Best Things to do on Vacation in Hawaii

There are many different activities taking place every day in Hawaii, but the above 5 activities are some of the very best

Hawaii is famous for its exotic beaches. Wikimedia Commons

When you’re planning your vacation in Hawaii you no doubt want to make sure you spend a lot of time in the sun and have a lot of fun. Once you’ve sorted out your rental house in Hawaii, and you’ve decided how long you’re going to stay you will need to start making plans. The good news is that we can give you a helping hand.

Hawaii is full of places to visit. VOA

Below you will find details of some of the very best things to do in Hawaii, helping to make your vacation one to remember:

Enjoy a Spot of Snorkelling

Why not dive into the blue waters and enjoy a spot of snorkelling? The seas in this part of the world are home to some turtles, beautiful fish and some incredible sights. Book a Turtle Canyon Snorkel Cruise, and head off on your tour which comes complete with snorkelling equipment that is suitable for anyone to use. If you’ve never snorkelled before, do not worry, the helpful and friendly instructors will assist you so you can dive into the water with ease.

As part of the cruise, you will be offered a couple of alcoholic drinks and unlimited alcohol-free drinks to enjoy as you make your way to Waikiki and Diamond head on a 16-foot catamaran, where you can take as many photographs as you wish.  Departing from hotels in Waikiki or the Kewalo Basin Harbour, this snorkelling tour should not be missed!

Visit Waikiki Beach

Most people go on vacation to Hawaii so they can enjoy the beautiful beaches and the stunning sunshine.  While you’re visiting this part of the world why not take a trip to Waikiki Beach and relax in the sun or under a palm tree? Listen as the clear blue waters brush up against the shore, and watch as boats, canoes, and divers enjoy their time on and in the water.

Apart from visiting beaches, there are many other things one can do in Hawaii. Wikimedia Commons


If you would like to avoid the beach when it’s busy, you may want to think about visiting early in the morning or as the sun is about to go down. Alternatively, you may also want to visit during the cooler months as there are fewer people on the beach then. Whenever you do decide to visit, you can be sure that you’ll have an amazing time on a beach that is known for its beauty and tropical feel.

Go Whale Spotting

We humans are not the only ones who enjoy the waters off the coast of Hawaii, whales love it too, and they can be spotted off the coast of Maui. Why not take the opportunity to hop on board a Maui Whale Watch Cruise and spend two whole hours spotting whales? Not only are you practically guaranteed to spot some of these magnificent mammals, but you will also get the chance to see them via an underwater webcam and a hydrophone, which is a type of listening device that picks up underwater sounds.

Also Read: Taking the Ancient Hawaii Dance form ‘Hula’ to 21st Century Art in US

Hawaii is also famous for its nightlife. Wikimedia Commons

Make sure you take a camera with you so you can get snap-happy when you spot a whale or two. The tour operates from December to May when the whales venture into the waters to breed, which is why you’re almost guaranteed to see them. With many different departure times and setting off from Lahaina, whale spotting will prove to be an unforgettable part of your vacation.

Take a trip to a Coconut Farm

Punakea Palms Coconut Farm is the ideal destination if you want to do something a little different while you’re in Hawaii. Walk around the farm and learn about how it works, how to get into a coconut, and enjoy its bounty. Understand how to cultivate coconuts and learn why they are so important to the local area. Located just outside of Lahaina, the coconut farm also gives you the chance to taste some very fresh coconuts. You will have to book a place on a 2.5-hour tour around the farm, but it is worth it as it’s a lot of fun.

Visit Princeville Botanical Gardens

If you have decided to spend a little time away from the beach and you want to visit somewhere peaceful Princeville Botanical Gardens is the right place for you. Owned and operated by the Robertson family who works hard to create a botanical paradise, the gardens are really beautiful. You will need to make a reservation before you can visit the gardens, but once you get here you’ll enjoy the breathtaking landscape and native Hawaiian plants.

Monsoon, Garden Lovers
Hawaii has some great gardens as well.

While you’re walking around the lush gardens you may notice that honey and fruit are grown in the area, and you’ll get the chance to sample some. Chocolate lovers will also enjoy tasting some locally produced chocolate that tastes divine. Open for tours on Mondays and Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, the Princeville Botanical Gardens need to be seen to be believed.

There are many different activities taking place every day in Hawaii, but the above 5 activities are some of the very best. If you’ve had enough of lounging on the beach for now, why not take a trip to a coconut farm, spot some whales as you cruise on a catamaran, and make your way around some magnificent botanical gardens. Finish off with a spot of snorkelling before you head to Waikiki Beach and relax in the sunshine as you feel the sand in between your toes, and feel a fresh breeze hit you as the sun beats down.