Updated at 4:59 p.m., Thursday, May 17, 2007
Hokule'a's first captain passes away
According to a news release from the society, Kapahulehua died at The Queen's Medical Center at 7:20 a.m. today. He was 76.
Nainoa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and fellow crew member on the return trip to Hawai'i 31 years ago, said "everyone in the voyaging family is saddened that our first captain to Tahiti has voyaged on. Kawika was the first captain of a double-hulled canoe to voyage from Hawai'I to Tahiti in 600 years. The success of that voyage was crucial to the future of Hokule'a, and Kawika was the perfect captain."
Services will be announced at a later time as well as a final journey on Hokule'a upon her return from her voyage to Japan, the release said.
The society said it is inviting the public to share memories, stories or photos of Kapahulehua at the Web site and weblog at www.pvs.hawaii.org.