The Hokule‘a could depart from Miami as early as today, resuming a voyage that would bring the canoe through the Panama Canal and back to the islands by next summer, a Polynesian Voyaging Society spokeswoman said.
The morning departure will depend on the weather and could be delayed to Monday, said society spokeswoman Sonja Swenson Rogers.
After leaving Miami, the crew will sail to Key West, Fla., where it is expected to stay a few days and depart on Christmas Day for Panama.
The crew will spend New Year’s Day at sea and arrive in Colon, Panama, possibly on Jan. 7.
The voyaging canoe and its crew arrived in Miami on Dec. 3, ending the 25th leg of the vessel’s Malama Honua (“to care for the earth”) worldwide voyage. The leg began in Virginia, where Hokule‘a was in dry dock.
In Miami, the vessel moored at Shake-A-Leg Marina where crew members gave free tours and prepared for the next portion of its journey.
Shake-A-Leg Miami is a nonprofit that focuses on people with physical, developmental and economic challenges and gives people a chance to experience water sports and the marine environment.
Hokule‘a crew member Kaipo Kiaha wrote in a blog post that last week the crew packed up gear from the canoe and its escort boat to be shipped back home, loaded supplies onto the canoe for the upcoming voyage, and cleaned the vessel.
Special-needs children with Shake-A-Leg Miami toured the Hokule‘a on Thursday.
“They were excited to be on board our voyaging canoe,” he wrote. “Our crew members were even able to lift some of the kids who had wheelchairs on board so they could see everything too.”
Hokule‘a is scheduled to arrive at Magic Island on June 17 after logging nearly 40,000 nautical miles and visiting 27 nations since departing Hawaii waters in May 2014.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.