The Makali‘i, a double-hulled voyaging canoe based on Hawaii island, departed from Honolulu Thursday evening for a 10-day sail to the islands of Nihoa and Mokumanamana more than 300 miles to the northwest in Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument.
The canoe arrived at Sand Island’s Marine Education Training Center from Kawaihae Harbor on Monday morning, where the crew spent the past few days preparing for the sail.
Makali’i left around sunset at 7:15 p.m.
The canoe’s voyage — named “Hanaunaola” — is part of a project funded by a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Native Americans. Hanaunaola refers to “sustaining generations through voyaging,” organizers said.
“We’re doing that through voyaging by continuing to pass on the knowledge we gained from sailing aboard Hokule‘a from all these years, and now, passing that on to the next generation of sailors,” said senior captain and pwo (master) navigator Chadd ʻOnohi Paishon.
The crew’s goal, said Paishon, is to reach Mokumanamana, also known as Necker Island, by the summer solstice on June 21.
Makali‘i’s crew of 14 will set sail under the guidance of original Hokule‘a crew member and pwo navigator Milton “Shorty” Bertelmann using non-instrument navigation.
The Makali‘i was built by Bertlemann and his brother, Clayton Bertelmann, in 1995 in Waimea, with the permission of pwo navigator Mau Piailug, the mentor for the Hokule‘a’s maiden voyage to Tahiti in 1976.
The Makali‘i voyage to the Northwestern Hawaiian islands and back is expected to last about a month. The voyage is unique because the provisions aboard the canoe have all been grown, harvested, and prepared by the Makali‘i’s local community, including 10 schools from Hawaii island.
The Makali’i’s parent organization, the nonprofit Na Kalai Wa‘a, partnered with the Edith Kanakaʻole Foundation for the voyage to what are considered culturally significant isles.
“Sometimes people forget that there’s 10 more islands past the island of Niihau. so going back to those islands is really, for us, about remembering,” said Paishon, who referred to them as kupuna islands.