For the first time in the Hokule‘a’s 42-year history, the legendary canoe is sailing into the waters of Pearl Harbor as part of its ongoing “Mahalo, Hawaii Sail.”
The U.S. Navy and community are scheduled to welcome the crew at Rainbow Bay Marina at 10 a.m. on Saturday with traditional Hawaiian protocol and a military welcome to herald a week-long engagement in the Puuloa region, as the area is historically called. Sailing by, the crew will pay respects to significant cultural and historical sites including the Halealoha Halemau (Fort Kamehameha Reburial Platform), USS Nevada, Arizona Memorial, Battleship Missouri, Ford Island, USS Utah, and Loko Paaiau Fishpond before her arrival at the marina.
The Loko Paaiau Fishpond at McGrew Point Navy housing is one of only three fishponds out of an original 22 in the area which remains relatively intact. Since 2014, the Navy and members of the local Hawaiian civic clubs and community have been working to restore it.
“We want to celebrate this place and the movement taking place by the Puuloa community and the Navy to restore the Native Hawaiian history, sites and cultural identity of Pearl Harbor,” said Nainoa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, in a press release. “We hope Hokuleʻa’s visit will open the doors for our young people to learn about the extraordinary history and culture of this very special, sacred place.”
Rear Adm. Brian Fort, commander of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, said many of the navigators are military veterans or have strong family ties to the U.S. armed forces.
“I have great respect for the courageous navigators of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and for the values they live by: love of the ocean, care for a sustainable environment, appreciation of history and heritage, and commitment to educating the next generation,” said Fort. “And I join with the rest of our community in thanking the navigators for sharing their time, talents and wisdom with us and our neighbors at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.”
Winston Kalina Lum, Sr., a board member of the Aliʻi Pauahi Hawaiian Civic Club and genealogical descendant of the early inhabitants of the area, said the Hokule‘a’s visit “fills our hearts with profound gratitude and love.”
“It has been hundreds of years since a voyaging canoe last landed on our shores,” he said. “As our community works together to preserve our cultural sites and educate our children, the canoe’s presence reminds us that we, too, can bring peace and Aloha to the planet.”
The Hokule‘a will be open for public dockside canoe tours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, and 3 to 5 p.m Monday through Friday. More than 1,000 schoolchildren are also scheduled to visit and participate in educational activities during this stop. A crew talk story event is scheduled for Thursday evening at the Rainbow Bay Marina Pavilion.
The purpose of the “Mahalo, Hawaii Sail,” which included recent stops at Pokai Bay in Waianae and Ko Olina Resort, gives the society an opportunity to thank Hawaii’s people and share lessons learned from the Malama Honua Woldwide Voyage. This stop honors Pearl Harbor’s ancient culture and history. The Hokule‘a is scheduled to depart from Rainbow Bay Marina the morning of Saturday, Feb. 17.