Polynesian voyagers re-embark from Kona
Two canoes finally depart after a weeklong delay
HILO » Accompanied by dolphins, the voyaging canoes Alingano Maisu and Hokulea sailed out of Kealakekua Bay in Kona yesterday afternoon, resuming a trip to Micronesia and beyond.
FOLLOW ALONG» Follow the voyage of Hokule'a at the Polynesian Voyaging Society web site at: www.pvs.hawaii.org
The double-hulled vessels left Kawaihae Harbor on Friday, but had to turn back to the bay Saturday night due to a crack in a rudderlike steering sweep. The Polynesian Voyaging Society, parent of the Hokulea, declined to say which canoe was affected.
By yesterday, the sweep was repaired and tested, the crews were back on board, and the canoes rounded a point at the south end of the bay at 5:30 p.m., said society spokeswoman Kathy Thompson.
They should reach South Point by dawn, she said. There, they will be out of the lee of the Big Island, and tradewinds will push them 800 miles southwest to the area of Johnston Island. Another 1,400 miles will take them to their first landfall at Majuro.
Cultural practitioner Danny "Kaniala" Akaka said a blessing and blew a conch shell as the canoes got underway in front of about 40 people, Thompson said.
Although the canoes had been in the bay for about three days, the departure was the first time dolphins joined them, swimming around the canoes, she said.
Waiting for good winds and the problem with the steering sweep delayed the departure about a week, but the overall voyage had time built into it in case of delay, Thompson said. At each of the islands the canoes visit, they will join in ceremonies, teach in classrooms and rest, she said.