A life-changing journey awaits several Kamehameha Schools alumni who are among a group of young crew members experiencing deep-sea training for the upcoming Moananuiākea Voyage.
During the 41,000-mile trip that is set to start next May, the voyaging canoes Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia will circumnavigate the Pacific to reach 46 countries and archipelagoes, nearly 100 Indigenous territories and 345 ports. They’re expected to return to Maui’s Honolua Bay on May 1, 2026, the 50th anniversary of Hōkūleʻa’s maiden voyage to Tahiti.
Vance Kaleohano Farrant KSK’17 learned valuable lessons during a training sail just a few weeks before graduating from Stanford University in June with a Bachelor of Science degree in Earth systems.
“Sailing, voyaging, anything on drydock is still new and it’s still a challenge, especially navigation is such a challenge and continues to push me, which is why I think I love it, too,” Farrant said. “It’s addicting. I can’t get enough of that kind of feeling of belonging and that feels like success and value right there – kind of almost like creating new family is what it is too, and that’s why they always say ‘‘ohana waʻa.’”
The Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) is conducting several training sails this year. The canoes recently returned from Papahānaumokuākea. The visit focused on the voyaging, cultural and ecological importance of the Marine National Monument.
Lucy Lee KSK’19 is one of the navigation students who trained during the latest voyage. She said she has grown a lot personally since becoming extremely seasick while sailing to Maui County right after she graduated from high school.
“I definitely think that I’ve developed a love and resiliency that is required to step into this waʻa mindset,” explained Lee. “I’m sure I’ll face trying situations similar, but when you start at rock bottom or when you start with what’s imaginably the most tough situation you’ll be in and you realize that you still feel – you’re still drawn to this and you still feel like it’s worth doing and it’s still important – that’s a really grounding and guiding aspect.”
By highlighting the significance of oceans, nature and Indigenous knowledge, the Moananuiākea Voyage is designed to inspire communities and share sustainable solutions for a thriving planet. PVS hopes to have 120 new crew members trained by the end of this summer.
“I think it’s really cool how we intermingle, give each other ideas,” said crew member Candido Kaiya Manatad IV KSK’19. “I like the fact that Uncle Nainoa (Thompson) is kind of letting us figure it out instead of telling us all the answers. We have to come together as a hui, hear everybody’s opinions and thoughts about a certain process, and then figure out which is best. And if it doesn’t work, we have to find another way.”
To learn more about the Moananuiākea Voyage and explore kumu resources, visit the Holomoana section of the recently refreshed KS Digital website.