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Three-year trip around the world in primitive vessels sets out

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
5/19/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Group plans to travel to 26 countries over the course of 50,000 miles

Two double-hulled vessels have set sail this weekend on an ambitious three-year world tour. Embarking from Hawaii, the voyage is "to try and prove the idea that Polynesians and Hawaiians actually did purposely transit the oceans."

The sister canoe, Hikianalia, does pack technical gear and will trail the Hokulea for safety.

The sister canoe, Hikianalia, does pack technical gear and will trail the Hokulea for safety.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
5/19/2014 (3 years ago)

Published in Sports

Keywords: Hawaii, Kon-Tiki, navigation, Hokulea


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - It must be noted that one of the ships, the 62-foot double-hulled Hokulea is not your average sea vessel. A couple sails, a wooden oar to steer and about five miles of rope to hold the canoe together. Captain Bob Perkins says the ship contains no navigational instruments. Not even a watch.

"The watch and hours really don't mean much once you're at sea. Natural wayfinding is when we have no instruments, much like what the ancient Polynesians and Hawaiians did," Perkins says.

Starvation takes no vacation --

The sister canoe, Hikianalia, does pack technical gear and will trail the Hokulea for safety. Perkins says they'll travel to 26 countries over the course of 50,000 miles. It's been done previously: Nainoa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, famously navigated the Hokulea across the Pacific 40 years ago.

"For me it's ancestral," he says. "It's a science, and it's an art that's traditional that's about 3,000 years old. It's part of human migration throughout the Pacific. It allows me to be here and be who I am as a Native Hawaiian - because without it, we couldn't make it to Hawaii."

Thompson learned the ancient tradition from Micronesian master navigator Mau Piailug. This trip is different from the voyage of the Kon-Tiki in the 1940s. It's about more than proving that traditional wayfinding is possible.

Thompson hopes to pass on a cultural legacy to a new generation.

"The way that you do that is to explore, and the way that you do that is to challenge them," Thompson says. "This voyage is not going to be easy. That's why it's powerful."

Both the Hokulea and the Hikianalia, already adrift, are using the stars to guide them on the first leg of their voyage.

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