Apia Arrival & UN Secretary General

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After waiting for more than three days for the weather to clear, the voyaging canoes Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia finally made landfall in Apia, Samoa just in the nick of time.

There’s no reason why the Secretary-General would have to make those kinds of commitments in a bottle unless he believed it.

“So for me, the arrival was extraordinary, it was profound and amazing. I say that because ‘we ve been working on this for two years. We’ve been working with virtually a thousand people to pull this thing together. The more that this conference has taken shape over the two years, the more Hōkūleʻa had a much larger role,” said Polynesian Voyaging Society president and master navigator Nainoa Thompson.

Sailing to the Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) Conference was important for everyone involved, perhaps no one more than the Samoan Head-of-State, who was there to personally greet the canoes. Alongside this arrival was another highly anticipated guest on Hōkūleʻa. This United Nations Secretary-General stopped by for a quick sail in Apia harbor.

“It’s a rare experience that you bring on someone, a global leader that’s not there to represent the interests of only their nation; they are there to represent the leadership of the whole planet. That’s the kind of individuals that we needed to connect to because of the global nature of this voyage. And he presented us with a bottle. In that bottle is a message blessing the Hōkūleʻa and its voyage around the world, his commitment to the values and the mission. You sense from him that he is sincere,” said Nainoa.

“There’s no reason why the Secretary-General would have to make those kinds of commitments in a bottle unless he believed it,” said Nainoa.

While this was a short trip for the Secretary-General onboard Hōkūleʻa, the time spent is sure to leave a lasting impression on the crews and the guests that were there to witness this historic event. But most importantly, this was the start of a new partnership.

“There’s a moment in time where we are looking to get back together in June 2016 in New York harbor where we will sail to where they are looking to create a document, a declaration for the world’s oceans from the membership of the world,” said Nainoa.

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