Friday, November 20, 2015

The Hikianalia Vessel Visit

"Founded on a legacy of Pacific Ocean exploration, the Polynesian Voyaging Society seeks to perpetuate the art and science of traditional Polynesian voyaging and the spirit of exploration through experiential educational programs that inspire students and their communities to respect and care for themselves, each other, and their natural and cultural environments."Polynesian Voyaging Society  

Polynesian Voyaging Society at HIMB; Photo taken by Jardine Gunn

On November 2nd, HIMB welcomed the Hawaiian voyaging canoe, the Hikianalia and its crew members from the Polynesian Voyaging Society. This unique 72-foot vessel combines a traditional Polynesian canoe model with added modern technologies, such as electric motors powered by photovoltaic panels and scientific collecting gear. The Hikianalia has travelled throughout the Hawaiian Islands to engage the community, share knowledge of traditional voyaging practices, and encourage local support of the Hōkūle’a's Malama Honua worldwide voyage, adding Moku o Lo'e to their itinerary.
The Crew at The Touch Tables of HIMB;
Photo Taken by Jardine Gunn

The visit gave us a chance to exchange knowledge, to learn and to think to the future. After docking, HIMB staff gave the Hikianalia crew a tour of our facility with an emphasis on our island's history and current research projects. In return, the Hikianalia crew provided HIMB staff and students the chance to board the vessel and learn about the capabilities of this incredible wa'a (vessel). Following the open house aboard the canoe, we had a talk story session where the crew shared their experiences. Jason Patterson, Apprentice Navigator on Hikianalia's 27-day voyage home from Tahiti to Honolulu, mentioned that often the modern navigational instruments they use, very intermittently will show an incorrect reading compared to what they have learned to accurately interpret from the stars and ocean currents. 


The Hikianalia crew were able to better experience Moku o Lo'e by staying on island for two nights. My fellow intern Nikki and I had the fortunate experience to do a bit of the reverse, and spend a night on the docked vessel. The night included peaceful thoughts laying under the sheet cover on the deck. Alongside the military plane landings from our neighboring marine core base and mother nature's dense rainfall pouring down on us, the view of the night sky that lit up Kaneohe Bay was overall a pleasurable atmosphere. Other CEP staff, like Casey Ching, sailed with the crew members from Kane'ohe Bay to Kahana Bay the following morning or back again a day later to make further lasting connections.

Hikianalia's recent series of outreach events connect with the community to inspire others to keep traditional Hawaiian knowledge and practice alive. Like Hōkūle’a, Hikianalia contributes to Hawaiian cultural preservation by navigating using only the stars, the sky, and the sea. PVS trains all crew members to use sailing techniques originally practiced by the Polynesian voyagers that first settled in the Hawaiian Islands. These wa'a promote the passing down of cultural knowledge to younger generations to use in addition to our readily accessible modern technological advances.

HIMB's director and renowned expert on Coral Reefs, Dr. Ruth Gates, had the chance to partake in Hōkūle’a's worldwide voyage as they passed the Great Barrier Reef. Gates calls the Malama Honua worldwide voyage, "The single greatest study even undertaken of the interaction between human beings and the ocean." The opportunity for the Polynesian Voyaging Society and our marine biologists at HIMB to come together was a meaningful experience. When it comes to valuing our oceans and marine resources, science and culture in Hawaii go hand in hand. At HIMB, we value our community partnerships and are thankful we could host the Polynesian Voyaging Society at Moku o Lo'e and help them fullfill their goals of contributing to education and protecting our Earth.

If anyone has anymore queries or if you would to keep track of these unique vessel's voyages, check out their website at for more information. At last check they were in Cape Town, having done the treacherous sail around the Horn of Africa! You can see our post from the last visit of the Hōkūle’a to HIMB in 2013 here: Polynesian Voyaging Society's Hōkūle‘a visits HIMB.
Mahalo and Aloha,
Jasmine Pike

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