Crew members aboard the Hokule‘a celebrated Christmas Day in Caribbean waters while en route to Panama.
The Polynesian Voyaging Society said the crew decorated the canoe with festive trimmings and donned Santa and elf hats to get into the holiday spirit.
“Not many people get to celebrate the holidays while at sea on the deck of Hokule‘a during this epic around-the-world voyage,” captain and navigator Bruce Blankenfeld said in a news release. “As much as we’d love to be home in Hawaii with our loved ones at this time of year, we are all truly honored to be sailing Hokule‘a to share our Malama Honua message with communities around the world.”
Crew member Wallace Wong said in a post Sunday on the Hokule‘a crew Facebook page that the holidays had sneaked up on some.
“(Christmas) Eve was a surprise for many as we slowly lose track of the days aboard the waʻa (canoe). Sunrise, sunsets and a universe of stars are what our days consist of,” Wong wrote. “Across this vast ocean we watch seabirds, huge ships and the distant silhouette of Cuba.”
The Hokule‘a was sailing along the coast of Cuba on Sunday and is expected to arrive Saturday in Panama, where the crew likely will ring in the new year. After re-entering the Pacific Ocean, the Hokule‘a will make stops in the Galapagos Islands, Rapa Nui and French Polynesia before sailing back west to a celebratory homecoming in June.
Since departing Hawaii waters in May 2014, the Hokule‘a has sailed more than 26,000 nautical miles and made stops in 14 countries and 70 ports. More than 200 volunteers have served as crew members, sharing messages promoting sustainability, cross-cultural understanding and global conservation.