Leg 25 of the Mālama Honua crew reaches its final port of call in Miami.
The Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage allows students to engage the greater classroom of the world and experience world-class, culture-based learning that now defines a Kamehameha Schools education. 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.
Hōkūleʻa reached Miami, Florida, marking the end of this historic trip along the U.S. east coast for the legendary voyaging canoe.
After Hōkūle‘a splashed back in the water once her dry dock was complete, she moved south on Leg 25 down the East Coast to Miami, Florida. KS Maui alum and crewmember Kaipo Kīʻaha faithfully documented the crew’s work, the weather and more in a series of four-day blogs from November 15 to 18, November 19 to 23, and November 24 to 27.
The trip to warmer waters was a welcomed change from frigid winter conditions over the past three weeks. KS Kapālama alum, dorm advisor and Worldwide Voyage crewmember Shantell De Silva talked with Hawaiʻi Public Radio about the transition to more familiar climate.
De Silva shared, “We started in VA with freezing temperatures of 30 degrees. And as we’ve been coming down the coast —North Carolina, South Carolina — it was still cold. But once we reached Florida, it started to warm up. The temperature is maybe 67 degrees in the morning and warms up through the afternoon. Currently we’re in West Palm and it is 81 degrees. So it’s a nice change from the cold gear that we’ve been wearing to shorts, slippers and t-shirts.”
She also talked about re-connecting with her students while aboard Hōkūleʻa, sharing a talk online and showing them the pink flag each of them had signed prior to De Silva coming on Leg 25.
“They wanted to be a part of the voyage and I was happy to do that with their names on the flag,” said De Silva to HPR reporter Molly Solomon. “And I’ll be returning it to them with the crew signatures and putting it up on our wall. They were a big part of this voyage for me.”
Throughout the voyage, education and building relationships has been at the forefront of what the canoe has set out to do. The crew continues to make build partnerships to give students an inside look at the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage.
On the morning of Thursday, Nov. 29, while the canoe was docked at Telemar Bay Marina in Indian Harbour Beach, Florida, the crew visited with approximately 60 fourth grade students at Surfside Elementary School. The team shared the heritage of Polynesian wayfinding and spoke with the students about the importance of environmental stewardship.
"Working with our youth is the key to growing and sharing our initiatives of creating a healthier, more sustainable island Earth," shared Kawika Crivello, crewmember aboard Hōkūleʻa. "We're thankful for the educational collaborations we've fostered throughout our Florida leg, allowing us to prepare these students in becoming conservation leaders within their own communities."
In April 2016, the vessel sailed along Florida's coast towards Virginia and worked with several schools throughout the region, including Surfside Elementary, as part of the voyage's dedicated outreach goals. Upon their recent arrival, crewmembers were welcomed back by the school's teachers to present to and engage with a new group of students.
Hōkūleʻa is currently moored at Miami's Shake-A-Leg Marina where the canoe will remain for about three weeks for re-provisioning and preparations for the next leg of the voyage. The crew also will be engaging with the Miami community to share the Mālama Honua message.
The marina hosting Hōkūleʻa is named for Shake-A-Leg Miami, a non-profit organization providing opportunities for children, youth and adults with physical, developmental and economic challenges to experience watersports and Miami's marine environment by teaching environmental lessons, therapeutic sailing and other water sport activities. The children and adults participating in Shake-A-Leg Miami's programs will meet the crew and learn the inspiring stories about Hōkūleʻa while she is moored there.
While in Miami, the crew also will conduct a series of free canoe tours and plans to work with cultural and community leaders for educational opportunities that extend the mission of the Worldwide Voyage. The crew will also reconnect with several Florida schools and representatives of the Miccosukee and Seminole Nation tribes, who welcomed Hōkūleʻa when she first arrived in Florida at Everglades National Park in March of this year before spending the next nine months sailing up the East Coast.
"With every person our crew engages with, we get one step closer to growing a global movement of people who share a common passion of malama aina," said Kalepa Baybayan, pwo navigator and captain for Hōkūleʻa's sail throughout Florida. "Miami will be a critical break for our team as we create and engage in conversations with people who nurture and inspire stewardship for our Mother Earth."
Miami is the final stop for Leg 25 of the Voyage, which began in Virginia following Hōkūleʻa's drydock for maintenance and repairs. A new crew will be arriving for Leg 26, which will sail the canoe to Key West before re-entering the waters of the Caribbean. Hōkūleʻa will then prepare to cross the 48-mile Panama Canal before returning to the South Pacific Ocean to make her momentous journey home to the Hawaiian Islands.
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 hokulea.com 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.