The Associated Press HONOLULU (AP) — No modern navigation instrumentation guided a Polynesian voyaging canoe as it followed the horizon during a three-year journey around the globe.
About a dozen crewmembers for each leg of the voyage relied only on their understanding of nature’s cues — ocean swells, stars, wind, birds — and their own naau, or gut, to sail across about 74,000 kilometers to 19 countries, spreading a message of malama honua: Caring for the earth.
On Saturday, thousands welcomed the double-hulled canoe Hokulea home to Hawaii when it entered a channel off the island Oahu and tied up to a floating dock with iconic Diamond Head in the distance.
Ka’iulani Murphy, an apprentice navigator on the double-hulled canoe, told The Associated Press that the successful journey taught her the value of ancient Polynesian maritime techniques.
“We really are sailing in their [the ancestors’] wake,” said Murphy, 38. “We had to re-learn what our ancestors had mastered.”
The toughest part of the journey was dealing with cloud cover and trying to maintain the proper speed so the boat escorting the canoe could keep pace, she said, adding that she enjoyed eating the fish the crew caught during the journey.