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Hōkūleʻa is carefully hoisted back into the water, emerging from a dry dock over the past three weeks at the Mariner's Museum in Virginia.

Wa'a Wednesday: Back on the water

Nov. 16, 2016

Contributed by Shaundor Chillingworth

The Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage allows students to engage the greater classroom of the world, and experience world class, culture-based education that now defines Kamehameha Schools’ present and future. The perpetuation of Polynesian wayfinding continues to be a source of pride for students, the organization and the entire Hawaiian community, adding strength to a collective sense of Native Hawaiian identity.

Crewmembers aboard Hōkūleʻa are setting their sights for Miami, Florida as the team departed Hampton, Virginia yesterday morning. For three weeks, the vessel was dry docked at the nationally-acclaimed Mariners' Museum to perform necessary restoration work, including structural repairs, service to electrical and mechanical systems and a new exterior paint job. After the completion of maintenance, Hōkūleʻa was returned to the water and readied for the next leg of the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage.

"Virginia welcomed our crew with genuine warmth and aloha and we are thankful for the opportunity to work with so many dedicated volunteers throughout the period of our dry dock," said captain Bruce Blankenfeld. "With the dedication of our skilled dry-dock team as well as the hands and hearts of the community, Hōkūleʻa is in great shape for her journey home."

Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) Education Volunteer Diane Tom-Ogata described the splash in a blog entry writing, “Today, Hōkūleʻa touched the water of the eastern shore.  With crew on hand, she was lifted into the water, towed to Bluewater Marina, and smoothly docked by experienced crew and navigator Bruce Blankenfeld.  Within a few hours, Hōkūleʻa transformed from a seemingly simple craft to an alluring vision, with masts, spars & boom erected proudly and lines draped.  Crew and dedicated volunteers assisted with the minutiae of lashings, hull arrangement and the many other hundreds of details that the average person does not understand or probably even notice. As the sun began to set against a sky tinged in blue and red, there she sat, the Star of Gladness, shining bright on the water.”

This leg of the Voyage takes Hōkūleʻa and her crew 950 nautical miles to Miami, Florida. The canoe will make approximately 16 stops in various ports along the way and is expected to arrive in Miami by early December.  

Miami is one of the Florida's most famous travel destinations and in addition to having the most populous areas in the state, the southern coast is home to some of the greatest biologically diverse marine ecosystems.  During her first touch to Florida in March, Hōkūleʻa and her crew engaged with local community groups to learn about the environmental and cultural legacy of the region. In Miami, crewmembers will once again engage with local community members to share the mission of the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage before continuing the 11,000 miles home.

Leg 25 will also include KSK ‘85 alum and KS Kapālama Dorm Advisor, Shantell DeSilva. There are plans to try and connect DeSilva with students in her dorm to continue to share the incredible experience. Look out for an additional story in the future.

As the holidays approach, PVS has a logo apparel store where you can get a great, memorable gift that celebrates this momentous journey and support the Hōkūleʻa Crew at the same time. Go to or Nā Mea Hawaiʻi at Ward Village Shops. Proceeds from the sales go to the Polynesian Voyaging Society.

The Mālama Honua voyage is also in the running for National Geographic’s Adventurer of the Year award. Read their story on the voyage or go straight to the voting page, daily, through December 16, to vote for Hōkūleʻa to receive this incredible acknowledgement.


Kamehameha Schools is proud to be the Education Sponsor of the Hōkūleʻa Worldwide Voyage. For more information about the Polynesian Voyaging Society and the Worldwide Voyage, visit or find the society on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Google+. To see more Wa‘a Wednesday stories and much more about the Mālama Honua Voyage, go to the KS Online Mālama Honua page(if you are on a KS Network) or see related articles below.

Leg 25 of the Mālama Honua voyage, bundled up for the crisp, cool East Coast weather ahead.

The store on offers the opportunity to get special commemorative items to use as gifts this holiday season, while also supporting the larger purpose of the voyage.

Starry night over Hōkūleʻa in Hampton, Virginia.

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