Thursday, November 26, 2015         

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Weather stalls Hokule'a's departure from Hilo

By Star-Advertiser staff


Hokule‘a and Hikianalia’s departure date has been pushed back again. The two voyaging canoes will leave Hilo for Tahiti no earlier than Wednesday as their crews continue to wait for the winds they need to launch their “Malama Honua” world-wide journey, Polynesian Voyaging Society officials say.

Captains leading the first international leg of “Malama Honua” (“Care for Our Earth”) had been preparing to leave Tuesday. Now they’re planning to depart sometime Wednesday or Thursday.

“The day that looks best by the forecast is Thursday. We need to get east on this trip, so you need winds northeast. And we don’t have that,” Hokule‘a Captain Nainoa Thompson said Monday, reviewing the latest National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration wind reports on his computer at Hilo’s Naniloa Volcanoes Resort.

“This is a really unusual weather pattern. You know, we designed the sail plan to be in a summer feature with a high pressure established that brings very stable, very predictable winds,” Thompson added. Instead “we have a winter feature that is highly unusual for now.”

Hokule‘a and Hikianalia originally planned to leave Hilo this past Saturday. The vessels’ 26 combined crew members are being encouraged to use the wait time to get added rest, officials said.

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