Canoe completes voyage from Hawaii to Japan

Saturday, June 9, 2007

More than five months after setting off from Hawaii, the Polynesian voyaging canoe Hokulea, reached Yokohama, Japan today.

The 62-foot (19-meter) doubled-hulled canoe, rigged with two sailing masts, completed a journey of 8,450 miles (13,600 kilometres).

Bruce Blankenfield, captain of the 10-member crew, said the journey was meant to celebrate the contributions that Japanese immigrants have made in Hawaii.

"It is like a reconnection," he was quoted as saying by the Associated Press. "We also hope to build awareness of culture and our history."

The Hokulea, or Hōkūleʻa, is patterned after the voyager canoes of ancient Hawaiian islanders. It was the tenth major journey for the boat, which first sailed in 1976 from Hawaii to Tahiti.

For part of the boat's voyage, it was accompanied by a sister voyager canoe, the Alingano Maisu, to Satawal, where the Maisu was delivered as a gift to navigator Mau Piailug, who guided the Hōkūleʻa on its first cruise 31 years ago.

Along the way across the Pacific, it stopped in the Marshall Islands, Truk, Yap, Palua, Okinawa, Uwajima and Hiroshima before reaching Yokohama.

The return voyage for the Hōkūleʻa will be by ship, and it is expected be back in its Honolulu home port by July.


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