After undergoing ten days of dry dock maintenance and other preparations in Cape Town, South Africa, Hōkūleʻa is ready to continue the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage and set sail across the Atlantic Ocean for the first time in history. Scheduled to depart South Africa for South America on December 23, 2015 (South Africa time), weather permitting, Hōkūleʻa will be in prime condition to sail the longest leg of the voyage.
Led by Captain Bruce Blankenfeld and navigator Kaleo Wong, the crew members who will be sailing Hōkūleʻa to Brazil have been spending the last few days loading the canoe with provisions and water for the voyage as well as reloading everything that was taken off and stored during dry dock. The crew has also been undergoing additional training and has been testing and fine tuning all supplies and equipment in preparation for departure.
Last month, nine crewmembers from Hawaii went to Cape Town and spent a week and a half inspecting and conducting annual maintenance work on the deck, steering paddles, catwalks, railings, mast and the bottom of the canoe.
“After sailing more than 6,000 nautical miles from Indonesia to South Africa through the treacherous conditions of the Indian Ocean, Hōkūleʻa endured some minor damage and wear and tear that required repair before her next journey to South America,” said Blankenfeld. “After 10 long days of work by our dry dock crew, she is looking good and ready to set sail again,” he added.
After departing Cape Town, Hōkūleʻa’s crew will sail for approximately two weeks until they make landfall at St. Helena, a British Overseas Territory in the Atlantic Ocean, on the way to Brazil. The estimated distance between South Africa and Brazil is 4,200 nautical miles. The crew also plans to stop at the UNESCO Marine World Heritage site in Ilha Fernando de Noronha for cultural and educational exchange en route to Natal. Weather and safety permitting, Hokulea is expected to arrive in mainland Brazil at the end of January.