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Greet ‘Hokule’a’ at San Francisco Maritime Museum on Sept 24

The legendary Polynesian voyaging canoe Hōkūle‘a is returning to San Francisco next Sunday for a welcoming ceremony at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park from 12–4 p.m. on September 24 in Aquatic Park Cove. She will be open for dockside tours.

The 61-ft wa’a (voyaging canoe) Hōkūle‘a has sailed the world since her maiden voyage in 1976. For perspective, the last Cal 40 was built in 1971, the first Moore 24 was built in 1974, and the first Express 27 was built in 1982! Overseen by the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS), Hōkūle‘a has been sailing a long time, and still continues her earth-saving mission. We wrote about the start of her 47,000-mile circumnavigation in 2014 when Hōkūle‘a left Hawaii to continue learning and sharing Polynesian navigating traditions and culture, and care for the earth.

Forty years after she was built, Hokule’a returned to Hawaii after a three-year circumnavigation from 2014 to 2017.
© 2023 Phil Uhl

Her latest voyage, Moananuiākea, is Hōkūle‘a’s 15th major trip in her first 50 years. She is arriving on San Francisco Bay as she travels south after visiting Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. At the core of Hōkūle‘a’s creation was exploration to uncover, recover, and reclaim Polynesian maritime heritage.

The Moananuiākea voyage is guided by what PVS has learned on their worldwide voyages, evolving the mission to move from exploration and understanding to mālama, or caring, and kuleana, or taking responsibility. They hope the voyages will bring knowledge and understanding so we can all build a future good enough for our children and the future of island Earth.

The 43,000-mile, 47-month circumnavigation of the Pacific by traditional Polynesian voyaging canoes Hōkūle‘a and her sistership Hikianalia will include 400 crew visiting 36 countries and archipelagoes, nearly 100 indigenous territories, and 345 ports. Her visit to San Francisco is an opportunity for all sailors to connect with the culture of the original Pacific voyagers who settled the islands and atolls thousands of miles to our west.

An additional opportunity for families to connect and learn more from Hokule’a’s visit is a presentation by Polynesian navigator Nainoa Thompson, who has led the rediscovery and revival of the ancient Polynesian art of navigation. He will speak at the Herbst Theater on Tuesday, September 26, at 5:30 p.m., with tickets available here. Adults are $10, and youth 18 and under are free.

You can track Hōkūle‘a’s voyage here.

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