The day breaks over Hōkūleʻa with Kualoa behind her.
Globe Trekking Canoe To Land in Key West on Wednesday
Renowned artist and conservationist Wyland has been added as a guest crew member aboard the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s globe-trekking voyaging canoe, the Hōkūle`a (Ho ku lay a), as it continues on the next leg of its journey from Cuba to Key West Bight Marina. Depending on ocean conditions, the vessel is expected to arrive on Wednesday or Thursday morning.
The canoe, along with its sister vessel, the Hikianalia, is traveling over 60,000 nautical miles around the earth with a message of sustainability. Previous guests aboard the vessels have included celebrities and conservationists, including Sir Richard Branson and UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon. Wyland, who was in Cuba, preparing for a future mural painting project in Havana, was invited to join the leg by Nainoa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society.
“It is an honor to be invited again to be part of the Hokulea crew on their world voyage,” said Wyland, whose non-profit foundation has actively worked to bring people together for clean water and a heathy ocean for more than 20 years. “This journey is a powerful expression of today’s effort to understand the natural world. It means even more to me because I live in the Florida Keys.”
The Polynesian Voyaging Society’s journeys use the same traveling methods of their ancestors – a process called ‘’wayfinding” – that uses only the sun, moon and stars to navigate. When visibility diminishes, wayfinders look for directional clues using wave patterns, currents, and even animal behavior to find even the tiniest islands in the vast ocean.
“We are sailing like our ancestors have for a thousand years—using wayfinding,” the Society writes on their website that tracks the journey. “On board, there is no compass, sextant, or cellphone, watch, or GPS for direction. In wayfinding, the sun, moon, and stars are a map that surrounds the navigators. When clouds and storms make it impossible to see that map, wave patterns, currents, and animal behavior give a navigator directional clues to find tiny islands in the vast ocean.”
“Our voyaging canoe strives to be a model of island sustainability and the importance of all types of knowledge and learning,” says Maya Saffery of the PVS. We seek to share ‘Island Wisdom, Ocean Connections, Global Lessons’ both in Hawaiʻi and around Island Earth through our current Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage to care for Island Earth.”
The Hokulea will be welcomed in Key West by Mayor Craig Cates and the residents of the Key West community. For the Hokulea, it has been two years since the vessel left Hilo, Hawaii. This will be the vessel’s first landing in mainland America. Mayor Cates said he is thrilled to welcome this unique vessel and the message its crew is spreading worldwide.
“Everyone can be the navigator our earth needs,” says the PVS. “Every person on earth can help navigate us to a healthy future where our Island Earth is safe and thriving again. Stories of hope and local solutions that blend indigenous wisdom with other best practices can be found all over the world. If we find and share those stories with each other, we can help chart a positive course for our planet.”