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This Polynesian Seafaring Canoe is Set to Complete its Journey Around the Globe in Honolulu

Source: Scientific American/Richard Schiffman - June 15, 2017 in Adventure

This Polynesian Seafaring Canoe is Set to Complete its Journey Around the Globe in Honolulu
Photo: HongKongHuey/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)

On June 17, a 62-foot-long double-hulled canoe is slated to arrive in Honolulu, completing the first-ever round-the-world voyage by a traditional Polynesian vessel—a predecessor of the modern catamaran.

The trip began in May 2014 when the Hōkūleʻa (Hawaiian for Arcturus, a guiding zenith star for seafarers) sailed westward from Hilo on Hawaii’s Big Island. Since then it has plied five oceans, visited 19 countries and traversed more than 40,000 nautical miles.

Nainoa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, which organized the expedition, has called oceangoing vessels like the Hōkūleʻa “the spaceships of our ancestors,” adding, “If you took all of the genius that has allowed us to put a man on the moon and applied it to an understanding of the ocean, what you would get is Polynesia.”

The round-the-world journey was planned in part to celebrate Polynesia’s seafaring achievements in developing and using a unique form of traditional navigation.

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