Sailing the Seas the Polynesian Way


The Pacific Voyager canoes began arriving in Hilo on June 15

Karen B. Clarkson, R

Karen B. Clarkson, R

One of the joys of living on the Hamakua Coast is watching ships sailing to and from Hilo. A few days ago, I was thrilled to look out at the deep blue ocean and see a flotilla of white sails gleaming in the sunshine. These were the sails of the seven double-hulled Pacific Voyagers Polynesian canoes that had just visited Hilo and were on their way to Maui on one leg of a very long journey. One mission of the voyage is raising awareness of impact of human activity on our oceans.

Beginning in the 1970s, there has been a resurgence of building and sailing voyaging canoes all over the South Pacific. I like to think that my husband, Joe, was part of that resurgence. When we were serving in the Peace Corps in the Marshall Islands (from 1970-1972), he outfitted a washed-ashore Polynesian canoe hull into a sailing canoe and other islanders followed suit. Here in Hawaii, the renaissance began in 1973 with the formation of the Pacific Voyaging Society which built the voyaging canoe H?k?le‘a. Its worldwide voyage carried the message, “M?lama Honua, Care for Earth.”

With the recent release of the IPSO report detailing the rapid and serious degeneration of the world’s oceans and the possibility of mass extinction of marine life, the message of the voyagers is timely and more urgent than ever and we wish them well as they share it around the world.

To learn more:

  • Track the Worldwide Voyage of the H?k?le‘a
  • Track the voyage of the seven Pacific Voyagers vaka
  • Visit the Polynesian Voyaging Society website
  • Watch a video recap of the IPSO report


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