Hōkūleʻa Update | St. Helena Departure

After a five-day stop for canoe reprovisioning and preparations, Hōkūleʻa departed the island of St. Helena this morning at 11 a.m. St. Helena time (1 a.m. HST) to continue her journey across the Atlantic Ocean to Brazil. Approximately six days after departure, Hōkūleʻa is expected to pass and sight Ascension Island, which was just declared a marine protected area. The island is also part of the St. Helena British Overseas Territory.


While in St. Helena, the Hōkūleʻa crew met with the acting governor of St. Helena and the St. Helena National Trust, a non-profit that promotes the awareness and protection of the island’s environment and cultural heritage. They had an opportunity to discuss similarities between the island of St. Helena and the Hawaiian Islands. The crew also participated in a clean-up project and sponsored the planting of a tree in the Millennium Forest, a reforestation project to recreate the Great Wood, which at one time covered the eastern part of St. Helena, but was destroyed as settlers cleared the forest for timber and grazing land. While on the island, the crew also explored Jamestown and toured the house where Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled until his death.


St. Helena was the first stop after traveling 16 days and approximately 1,900 miles from South Africa en route to Brazil. The voyage from Africa to South America is the longest leg of the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage and the first time in history Hōkūleʻa sailed in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. More than 1,200 of the 1,900 miles traveled to the remote island of St. Helena were on open ocean using only traditional wayfinding and no modern instruments.


The canoe’s next stop will be at Ilha Fernando de Noronha, Brazil, an archipelago and UNESCO Marine World Heritage site, where the crew will engage in cultural and educational exchange. Hōkūleʻa is expected to make landfall in South America at the coastal city of Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, located in northeastern Brazil, in early February. The crew will seek stories of hope about efforts to malama the sacred natural resources and indigenous cultures of the Amazon Rainforest.


After stopping in Brazil, Hōkūleʻa will continue the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage and stop in a few ports in the Caribbean before sailing up and visiting cities along the East Coast of the United States. She is scheduled to arrive in New York City by June 8, 2016, for World Oceans Day.

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