The Hokuleʻa and Hikianalia canoes have reached Tahiti after leaving Hawaii last month.
The canoes sailed into Papeete, Tahiti, this afternoon and were welcomed by the Tahitian community, including French Polynesia President Edouard Fritch and other dignitaries, the Polynesian Voyaging Society said in a news release.
The crews were greeted with a traditional cultural ceremony that was followed by speeches and tributes honoring the crews for their voyage to Tahiti.
The celebration commemorated the relationship between the Hokuleʻa and Tahiti, which began 46 years ago during the canoe’s first voyage to French Polynesia.
“We are about to embark on the largest voyage ever done, Moananuiakea, which will focus on bringing together the Pacific islands for the oceans,” said Polynesian Voyaging Society CEO Nainoa Thompson in a statement. “I can’t think of a better place to start this voyage than in this place of our ancestors where the relationship to nature, oceans and culture is so strong.”
The Kealaikahiki Voyage to Tahiti has been preparing crews for the Moananuiakea Voyage, a five-year voyage around the Pacific Ocean set to start next year.
The crews left Oahu on April 11 and left Hawaii for Tahiti on April 18. They are expected to leave Tahiti on May 20 to sail to Taputapuatea in Raiatea to follow ancient cultural protocol and ask permission to launch the Moananuiakea Voyage.
Thompson and fellow Pwo Navigator Bruce Blankenfeld will also be participating in the Blue Climate Summit from May 14-20. The event is focused on expediting ocean-related solutions to climate change.
The canoes’ voyage can be followed online at https://www.waahonua.com.