Hikianalia More Than Halfway to California

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The Polynesian Voyaging Society reports that crew members aboard the Polynesian voyaging canoe Hikianalia, as of Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018, have made a 90 degree turn east toward Northern California after sailing 1,500 miles north of Hawaiʻi, marking the approximate halfway point between Hawaiʻi and the continental United States. The significant waypoint has been hard-earned, however, with the crew currently experiencing nearly five straight days of overcast weather that have put the navigators’ skills to the test as clouds have been obscuring celestial elements used in non-instrument wayfinding.

Hikinalia. Courtesy photo.

“This whole journey and our preparation was planned for two major tacks one headed northbound, and one headed eastbound,” said Lehua Kamalu, captain and lead navigator of Hikianalia. “That was to get around a high pressure system that traditionally sits northeast of the Hawaiian Islands in the summertime months. This year, has been particularly challenging as the high has moved around quite a bit causing sometimes winds where we didn’t expect them to be, or areas that are calm where we originally thought there would be wind.”

The sail plan has taken the crewmembers from Hawai’i directly north as far as 42 degrees latitude, the upper limit of what the crew had planned.

“As you can see, the canoe itself is pretty exposed so we don’t like to go too far north into the cold – this is about as cold as we like to sail,” Kamalu said.

Hikianalia and crewmembers departed Hawaiʻi on Aug. 18, 2018. They are expecting to complete the approximate 2,800 mile leg to San Francisco by mid- September where an arrival ceremony and other events are planned. Below are the California engagements that have been scheduled to date. All events are subject to change, so please check online for the latest updates:


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