Hōkūleʻa Crew Sends Message to Maui as She Sails Through British Columbia

Hōkūleʻa was in Vancouver, B.C., Canada when the devastating wildfires swept through our beloved Lahaina, Maui. The Leg 6 crew and all of the Polynesian Voyaging Society are heartbroken for and with our ʻohana, friends and communities of Hawaiʻi. The crew sent a message from the deck of Hōkūleʻa, prior to departure for Salt Spring Island.

Bidding them farewell from Vancouver was First Nations Squamish elder Bob Baker, who spoke of living on Maui for 16 years and getting involved with Hawaiian canoe paddling and sailing through the late Pwo Navigator from Lahaina Chad Kalepa Baybayan and Hōkūleʻa veteran voyagers from Lahaina Snake Ah Hee and Archie Kalepa, both of whom survived the fires along with their families and their homes.

Baker is also involved in the Squamish canoe culture, telling crew members of “doing blessing ceremonies, blessing canoes, making canoes, taking our kids out and teaching from the canoe the history of our land here, the geographical formations that give us a leadway into our legends.”

Connections to Hawaiʻi continued to deepen as Hōkūleʻaʻs sailed south. In the 1800s Native Hawaiians working for the Hudsonʻs Bay Company settled the area, including William Naukana who lived on Portland Island, B.C. in 1875. In 1904, Naukanaʻs daughter moved to nearby Salt Spring Island, where Hōkūleʻa docked and the crew met her granddaughter Kate Roland. Roland told the crew of other Native Hawaiian families that lived in the area – the Mahoes, Haumeas, Kahananuis and others. She told them how her uncle loved to look at Mount Maxwell because it reminded him of the view of Diamond Head from Oʻahuʻs east side.

Roland told crew members: “A lot of people have left the Hawaiian islands over the years, coming north, not since just the 1800s but today, theyʻre still leaving, but you canʻt lose that spirit of aloha, that spirit of ʻohana, wherever you go, it comes with you and itʻs our kuleana to spread that and keep it alive so people know, we are Hawaiian.”

From Salt Spring Island, Hōkūleʻa will sail to Victoria, B.C. then south, back into U.S. waters, to Suquamish, Washington and on to Seattle, August 26 then Tacoma August 30th. More details will be announced regarding arrivals and events in Seattle and Tacoma. Sail plans are subject to change depending on weather.

Hōkūleʻa has been sailing from Southeast Alaska since the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) held its global launch of the four-year circumnavigation of the Pacific in Juneau, Alaska on June 15. The canoe and her crew are currently sailing through British Columbia where they continue to engage with First Nations communities.