Would you go around the world – in a canoe? Crew members Glenn Biven, left, and Diane Tom-Ogata, right, use a wooden rudder to steer the Hokulea canoe. (AP Photo/Oskar Garcia)
Would you go around the world – in a canoe?
Lexile

The Polynesian voyaging canoe that is guided solely by nature as it circles the globe has reached South Africa, the halfway point on its three-year journey and the most dangerous leg partly because of complicated ocean conditions.
 
The double-hulled canoe Hokulea left Hawaii last year, and its crewmembers are sailing without modern navigation equipment. They are using the motion of the waves and the position of the stars to guide their path, sailing the way that brought the first Polynesians to the Hawaiian Islands.
 
By the time the voyage is expected to end in 2017, crewmembers will have sailed more than 60,000 nautical miles and dropped anchor at 100 ports in 27 nations.
 
They recently arrived in Cape Town, South Africa, where crewmembers are teaching the local community about traditional navigation, Native Hawaiian culture and ways to care for the ocean.
 
"We're here, we're safe," navigator Nainoa Thompson said from Cape Town. "We got around South Africa safely."
 
The journey is also about building relationships and connections at all their stops, Thompson said.
 
"To be honest, the majority of people don't know much about Hawaiian culture or Hawaii," he said.
 
He recounted a moment when Hawaii students who have joined up with the voyage met with children in Cape Town.
 
"We didn't know how to connect until our children danced, then their children danced," he said.
 
"We had a chance today to witness what world peace looks like and sounds like," he added, describing the sounds of Hawaiian pahu drums beating along with African rhythms.
 
The stop was made possible with permission from a Nobel Peace Prize winner, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who blessed the canoe during a 2012 visit to Hawaii, Thompson said.
 
"We're finding the definitions of caring, compassion and aloha from many of the places that we go," Thompson said, reflecting on hearing news of the attacks on Paris. "We're just very blessed and very fortunate to be witness to it among all the stories of rage and anger."
 
The canoe will spend two weeks off the water before departing across the Atlantic Ocean for the first time to South America. Up to 200 crewmembers have sailed with Hokulea so far, joining and leaving the journey at various points.
 
Hokulea was first built and launched in the 1970s in an attempt to revive Polynesian wayfinding. The first voyage to Tahiti in 1976 was successful and the canoe became an icon amid an ongoing Native Hawaiian renaissance.
 
The latest voyage is called Malama Honua, which means, "to care for our Earth."

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why isn’t the crew using GPS?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (30)
  • victoriaz-bou
    11/30/2015 - 12:33 p.m.

    To help revive the true nature of Polynesians.

  • loganr-bou
    11/30/2015 - 12:35 p.m.

    The crew doesn't use a gps as they're using traditional ways of navigation. This includes watching wave motion, and using the stars to guide your way on the ocean.

  • kianad-bou
    11/30/2015 - 12:36 p.m.

    The crew isn't using a GPS because the journey is about building relationships and connections. The crew wants to connect with Hawaiian culture since not many people know about it and they are sailing the way the polynesians first came to Hawaii.

  • vedanta-bou
    11/30/2015 - 12:38 p.m.

    They want to build relationships with the local communities and teach them about traditional navigation.

  • deniseu-bou
    11/30/2015 - 12:39 p.m.

    The crew on the Hokulea do not use GPS and instead utilize the traditional navigational practices that the first Polynesians used to sail to Hawaii. They hope to revive Polynesian culture and tradition through this.

  • victoriad-bou
    11/30/2015 - 12:41 p.m.

    They aren't using a GPS because they want to sail exactly the way their Polynesian ancestors did when they discovered the Hawaiian islands. They use the stars and waves and their guides.

  • dariac-bou
    11/30/2015 - 12:42 p.m.

    The crew isn't using GPS because the canoe was built to revive Polynesian wayfinding and it's a way to connect with other people: by teaching others traditional navigation.

  • carolinam-bou
    11/30/2015 - 12:45 p.m.

    The crew isn't using a GPS because they are attempting to practically "recreate" how the first Polynesians sailed to Hawaiian islands.

  • baileyp-bou
    11/30/2015 - 12:45 p.m.

    They used the stars and waves to guide them to Africa and they went the same way that he Pollonsians went.

  • maggiem-bou
    11/30/2015 - 12:45 p.m.

    The crew isn't using a GPS, because they are attempting to practically 'recreate' how the first Polynesians came to Hawaiian islands.

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