After more than two-weeks’ delay, the Hikianalia and her crew are scheduled to depart Sand Island for northern California at noon on Friday.
The departure officially launches the “Alahula Kai o Maleka,” which honors the frequented pathway across the ocean between Hawaii and California. Kai o Maleka means “sea of America.”
Weather permitting, the Hikianalia is expected to sail about 30 days across the Pacific Ocean and arrive mid-September in San Francisco to coincide with the Global Climate Action Summit.
The Hikianalia (named for the star Spica), the Hokule‘a’s sister canoe, will be powered by wind and sun, and captained and navigated by the “next generation” of voyaging leaders.
“The current winds are good for the canoe to set sail and go north towards San Francisco, however, we will continue to work with the National Weather Service to watch this approaching tropical storm closely,” said Nainoa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, in a news release. “If the potential hurricane poses a risk to Hikianalia and the crew, we will postpone again. We are monitoring the structure of the path and the intensity of the storm. The crew is ready to go, and now it depends on nature.”
Hikianalia was originally scheduled to depart at the end of July, but was delayed due to unfavorable weather conditions caused by Hurricane Hector and final canoe preparations.
While at sea, the crew will be collecting a half-liter of water a day to be tested, as well as using tracking devices to tag large pieces of marine debris found in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
A welcome ceremony is now scheduled for Sept. 16 at San Francisco’s Aquatic Park. Thompson is expected to speak at the summit’s session on “Healthy Oceans.”
After engagements in San Francisco, Hikianalia will sail down the California coast to San Diego, connecting with communities along the way. The canoe is scheduled to return to Hawaii in December.