The Hokule‘a has made a major change to its sail plan — an unexpected return home to Hawaii in late December before continuing its circumnavigation of the Pacific.
“The level of hurt that’s happening in our home is something I can’t comprehend,” said Thompson in a news release. “All I know is that we got to come home because of it.”
The Hokule‘a, which sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge and made a grand entrance into the Aquatic Bay Cove in San Francisco last week, will return home from San Diego, Calif., in late December.
He said instead of heading to Mexico and Central America, the Hokule‘a would return home “simply because we need to and simply because it’s the right thing to do.”
Lahaina is a voyaging powerhouse, he said, where canoes were built and launched, and where many great captains and navigators have come from over the years.
“Hokule‘a needs to come home because I believe the family is going to need the canoe and the canoe is going to need the family,” he said.
Another contributing factor to the leadership’s decision, he said, is the earth’s unprecedented weather patterns, including the current El Nino phenomenon — a period of unusually warm water in the Pacific Ocean.
“This is the first time that I know of that we’re having to really make decisions about a really established hot earth plus the heat of El Nino,” he said. “Add it together and we don’t know what the risk is gonna be anymore.”
The navigator’s job “is to protect that canoe and those who sail it and the way to do that is to watch nature, and make decisions on when it’s time to go and when it’s not time to go.”
Since the Hokule‘a launched its voyage from Juneau, Alaska on June 15, it has sailed through British Columbia to Washington state, down the west coast of Oregon and California and is now docked in San Francisco.
The four-year circumnavigation of the Pacific is expected to cover an estimated 43,000 nautical miles, 36 countries and archipelagoes, nearly 100 indigenous territories and more than 300 ports as a global educational campaign on the importance of oceans and indigenous knowledge.
It has not yet been determined how long Hokelua will remain in Hawaii upon its return home.
Thompson said the Moananuiakea Voyage will still be completed within the original timeframe, and that commitments made to communities around the Pacific will be kept.
Updates are available at hokulea.com or @hokuleacrew on Facebook and Instagram.