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PVS Delays Departure of Tahiti-Bound Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia Due to Weather

March 29, 2022, 2:57 PM HST
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Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia’s departure to Hilo before setting sail for French Polynesia has been rescheduled to Monday, April 4, 2022, at the earliest.

The crews were initially scheduled to depart Sand Island, Oʻahu on March 30.

After assessing the long-term weather forecast, the Polynesian Voyaging Society leadership team determined the best time for the canoes to depart from Hilo for Tahiti would be sometime between April 6 and 8 so the crew will use the next five days in Honolulu to continue to do training.

The “Kealaikahiki Voyage” will focus on leadership, navigational training and cultural protocol to prepare the crew and test the canoes before they embark on the Moananuiākea Voyage next year. While in French Polynesia, voyaging leaders will also be participating in the Blue Climate Summit, a high-level meeting to discuss ocean protection and climate change. The canoes are tentatively scheduled to arrive in Papeete, Tahiti on April 30, 2022.

In addition to immersive navigational and crew training, one of the main purposes of the “Kealaikahiki Voyage” is to follow the ancient voyaging protocol of sailing to the sacred navigational heiau of Taputapuātea in Raʻiātea, French Polynesia to seek permission to launch a major voyage. Taputapuātea’s cultural elders will conduct sacred ceremonies to affirm the Kealaikahiki sea road and to consecrate Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia as sacred vessels of heritage carrying the mana (spirit) of Polynesia throughout the vast Pacific on the Moananuiākea Voyage.

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With regards to the COVID-19 pandemic, PVS’ medical team has been closely following case numbers and information, and have updated and will continue to update its plans and protocols accordingly. The voyage to Tahiti has been postponed three times over the last two years due to the pandemic.

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“Our priority is the health and safety not only of our own crew and their families but of our community and the communities that graciously allow us to visit,” said PVS medical officer Dr. Seren Tokumura. “We are currently seeing Tahiti’s numbers of COVID-19 infections and deaths matching the trends worldwide, and with our current health and safety protocols in place, we feel that we are ready to return to Tahiti at this time.”

Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia are scheduled to return to Oʻahu around June 15, 2022.

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