If you love Hawaii as I do, surely you’ve heard about the Hōkūleʻa.
And if you don’t know the story…”Hōkūleʻa” is Hawaiian for “Our Star of Gladness.” It’s the recreation of a double-hulled sailing canoe like the ones that first brought Polynesians to my favorite islands a long time ago. It was built in the 1970s and has made many voyages since, with the crew navigating by the stars as in days of old.
This particular voyage of the canoe has been sailing all over the world. I was surprised, and awed, to see how small the vessel looks in person. Somehow, I thought it would be maybe five times the size it is. That only makes the story of this voyage more awe-inspiring.
A good book that tells a lot of information about the Hōkūleʻa is Eddie Would Go: The Story of Eddie Aikau, Hawaiian Hero and Pioneer of Big Wave Surfing by Stuart Holmes Coleman. Eddie was on the Hōkūleʻa’s second voyage. A fantastic surfer, not to mention a lifeguard who had saved 500 people, when that particular voyage got into difficulties Eddie tried to ride his board to shore to get help and save the crew. He removed his life vest. It was impeding his ability to paddle on the board. It was heartbreaking that he didn’t survive his valiant attempt. Fortunately, everyone else was rescued, and after that, the canoe sails along with an escort boat.
Today it was wonderful to see the Hōkūleʻa at the North Cove Marina in New York City. I arrived as the blessings began. First a Hawaiian group blessed the voyagers and welcomed them to the city, and then other Native American groups did as well. The crowd was the usual fabulous New York City mix. I personally love anything that brings people together. The Hōkūleʻa drew people from every culture this morning, like a positive magnet for good. I even heard overheard a man telling someone he’d just met there, “I’m a teacher. I tell students the story of the Hōkūleʻa as an example of how far self-reliance can bring them.”
Aloha, Hōkūleʻa! Welcome to New York! We’re glad to have you with us! Somewhere, if he could have all those gathered this morning, Eddie Aikau must be smiling.
For more information, check out http://www.hokulea.com. Here’s some additional photos: