The storied Polynesian voyaging canoe Hokule‘a sailed into Pearl Harbor today, a historic stop on its current Mahalo Hawaii tour of the islands.
The event marked the first time in its 42-year history that Hokule‘a has entered the waters of Pearl Harbor.
Three Navy ships — the USS Hopper, USS Chafee and USS Chung Hoon — blew ceremonial whistles as the canoe entered the mouth of the harbor around 8 a.m. The Hokule‘a crew responded by sounding a pu (conch shell).
Crew members blew the pu and scattered plumeria as the canoe continued past Halealoha Haleamau burial platform, the USS Nevada, the USS Arizona Memorial, USS Battleship Missouri Memorial, Ford Island, USS Utah Memorial and other historic sites.
The canoe made a brief stop at Loko Paaiau fishpond, one of only three remaining fishponds out of 22 that used to exist in the Puuloa area.
The vessel docked at Rainbow Bay Marina, where the crew was welcomed with chants and a hula performance by students from Aiea High School.
During a brief program, Alii Pauahi Hawaiian Civic Club board member Winston Kalina Lum Sr. said Hokule‘a’s visit to Puuloa “fills our hearts with profound gratitude and love,” according to a news release from the Polynesian Voyaging Society. “It has been hundreds of years since a voyaging canoe last landed on our shores. 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,” Lum said.
Rear Adm. Brian Fort, commander of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, thanked Polynesian Voyaging Society President Nainoa Thompson and his crew for sharing insights gained during Hokule‘a’s recently completed Malama Honua Voyage around the globe.
“I am a firm believer that the values that unite us are far greater than any distractions that divide us,” Fort said. “We are truly inspired by the brave but humble navigators of Hokule‘a and the values you cherish and represent. If you ask any of our Navy sailors here about our Navy core values, he or she will tell you honor, courage and commitment. I know that you share these values.”
Public tours of the vessel will be offered 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday and 3 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. A talk story session with the crew will be held 5 p.m. Thursday at the marina pavilion.