Hokule‘a back in Pacific after Panama Canal crossing
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Hokule‘a back in Pacific after Panama Canal crossing

  • COURTESY POLYNESIAN VOYAGING SOCIETY / ‘OIWI TV

    The DWS Linda towed Hokule‘a through the Panama Canal today.

For the first time in 20 months, the Hawaiian sailing canoe Hokule‘a is back in Pacific waters today after transiting the Panama Canal, the latest milestone in its voyage around the world.

The double-hulled canoe arrived on the Pacific side of the 48-mile, man-made canal after a two-day journey across three sets of locks, according to a Polynesian Voyaging Society news release. A work vessel, the DWS Linda, towed Hokule‘a through the passage since the canoe has no engines to handle the canal’s strong currents, the release stated.

Hokule‘a had arrived in Colon, Panama, on Jan. 2 after an approximately 13-day sail from Key West, Fla., and was originally scheduled to start moving through the canal Monday, according to Bruce Blankenfeld, captain of the current leg. However, issues with the locks delayed their departure by about a day, Blankenfeld explained in a pair of videos posted to the Hokule‘a Facebook page.

The canoe is expected to stay in Balboa for about seven days where crews will provision the double-hulled Polynesian canoe replica for its upcoming sail to the Galapagos Islands, according to the release. That approximately 10-day sail will be the first of about seven more legs on the Malama Honua (“Care for the Earth”) worldwide voyage. Hokule’a is slated to return to Oahu in mid-June.

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