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Hokule'a arrives in Hilo

By Marcel Honoré

LAST UPDATED: 12:38 p.m. HST, May 20, 2014

After setting sail from Oahu as hundreds of people said goodbye Saturday, the Polynesian voyaging canoes Hokule'a and Hikianalia arrived in Hilo early Tuesday, according to officials with the "Malama Honua" worldwide voyage.

The canoes' journey across the Hawaiian islands to Radio Bay in Hilo included a stopover in Maui. The vessels then sailed across the Maui Channel and past the northern tip of Hawaii island. Crews said they then encountered rough-weather sailing down the island's east coast to Honokaa.

Voyage officials posted photos on Twitter of Hilo residents welcoming the canoe crews Tuesday morning.  

Hilo is the last stop in Hawaii before Hokule'a and Hikianalia embark for Tahiti, the first international leg of the three-year voyage. 

Crews are expected to meet with local students later this week, but are otherwise focusing most of their efforts on final preparations before launching into the open sea. 

They have set May 24 as a departure date, but that could change depending on weather and the status of canoe preparations.

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