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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Hokule'a expected in Kaua'i last night

By Jan TenBruggencate
Advertiser Science Writer

HANALEI, Kaua'i — The voyaging canoe Hokule'a was expected to anchor at Hanalei Bay late last night, completing a 2,400-mile round trip through the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

The canoe was making slow progress around sunset last night, being towed into the brisk trade winds off Kaua'i's Na Pali Coast.

A crew of 10, led by captain Mel Paoa and navigator Bruce Blankenfeld, sailed the canoe from Midway Atoll, where it left June 11. Blankenfeld, speaking by shortwave radio, said he expected to arrive at Hanalei about midnight.

The voyage is part of the canoe's 2004 mission, under the title Navigating Change. It aims to use a series of voyages to help promote education and environmental stewardship. The first three legs of the year's voyages were from O'ahu to Kaua'i, from Kaua'i to Kure Atoll and then Midway, and the most recent leg from Midway to Kaua'i.

The next step in the year's voyaging is the transfer of control of the canoe to the next generation. A crew led by captain Russell Amimoto and navigator Ka'iulani Murphy, both younger than Hokule'a itself, will sail to O'ahu this week, train through the summer, and then in September are scheduled to make a 2,000-mile voyage to Palmyra and Christmas Islands, and then back to Hilo, Hawai'i.

Polynesian Voyaging Society president Nainoa Thompson said there are also discussions about a shorter voyage to Nihoa Island during the year, along with a series of short voyages within the main Hawaiian Island chain, stopping at locations across the state where communities are doing important environmental work.

Advertiser Science Writer Jan TenBruggencate served as a crewmember aboard Hokule'a during its voyage, sending back dispatches via satellite phone.