Hawai'i State News

Hōkūleʻa to arrive back in Hawai‘i on Dec. 6

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The Hōkūleʻa voyaging canoe departed Long Beach Dec. 1 on a Matson container ship. Photo Courtesy: PVS

After more than six months, 2,800 miles and approximately 45 ports and engagements from Alaska to Southern California on the Moananuiākea Voyage, Hōkūleʻa is on her way back to Hawaiʻi courtesy of Matson.

Crew members were in San Diego earlier this week to prepare the canoe to be shipped home. On Wednesday they took Hōkūleʻa from San Diego, arriving in Long Beach the following day where she was loaded onto Matson’s Mahimahi container ship, which departed Friday at 4 p.m.

The Matson ship is expected to arrive in Honolulu on the evening of Dec. 6. Then the canoe will be towed to her home at the Marine Education Training Center at Sand Island the following morning. The public will have an opportunity to welcome Hawaiʻi’s canoe home on Dec. 7, at a ceremony at the Marine Education Training Center at 4 p.m.


The Polynesian Voyaging Society announced in September that it was making this major change to the Moananuiākea Voyage sail plan and that Hōkūleʻa would be returning home in December due to the devastating fires on Maui and the desire to bring Hōkūleʻa home at a time when her home is hurting.

Another contributing factor was the earthʻs unprecedented weather patterns including the current El Nino phenomenon, a period of unusually warm water in the Pacific Ocean, which has global impact. The Polynesian Voyaging Society has been evaluating climate and weather data over the last nine months. The intention was to sail Hōkūleʻa home, but recently released data shows El Nino strengthening even further.

While Hōkūleʻa is in Hawaiʻi, the Polynesian Voyaging Society will focus on training, education and planning until the Moananuiākea Voyage’s circumnavigation of the Pacific continues at a time that is yet to be determined.


According to Polynesian Voyaging Society CEO Nainoa Thompson, there were many great accomplishments made on the legs through Alaska and down the West Coast of the United States. The canoe and crews engaged with dozens of indigenous and Native Hawaiian communities, and connected with partners to amplify the importance of caring for the earth and its oceans.

Voyage milestones included crossing the Gulf of Alaska, sailing through straits and narrows, and reaching Hubbard Glacier, the farthest North Hōkūleʻa has ever been, which is two-thirds of the way to the North Pole. Also during the last six months, several crew members completed the final phase of training and became captains to take deep-sea command during the Moananuiākea Voyage.

Matson is a Pō Mahina Poepoe Sponsor of the Moananuiākea Voyage, donating the shipping of Hōkūleʻa and her escort boat Kōlea from Honolulu to Tacoma back in April and now the shipping of the canoe from Long Beach back to Honolulu.

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