Saturday, August 14, 1999


Hokule‘a crew
bids Marquesas adieu

After a hospitable visit,
the canoe continues on its
voyage to Rapa Nui

By Susan Kreifels


Marquesas islanders speak their native language and French. Crew members on the voyaging canoe Hokule'a speak Hawaiian and English. Yet they've been able to communicate.

Chad Baybayan, Hokule'a captain and navigator on the next leg of the historic Rapa Nui voyage, said there are enough common words between the two island languages, born of ancient Polynesian roots, to converse.

The crew has also seen similarities in island food. Poi, for example, is on the Marquesas menu, but made from bananas rather than taro.

"They understood we were related somehow ancestrally, that Hawaiians are descendants of early Marquesan sailors," Baybayan said in a telephone interview from Hiva Oa in the Marquesas Islands.

The Hokule'a planned to set sail at sunrise today with good winds for Mangareva, about 1,500 miles away. The canoe left Hilo on June 15 with a final destination of Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island.

For the last 25 years, the Hokule'a has been following the migration routes of the ancient Polynesians who settled all the inhabitable islands of the Pacific. The crew navigates by the stars, waves and other signs of nature rather than by modern equipment.

The canoe and its escort boat Kamahele just finished a minicruise around the Marquesas Islands, most of which have never seen a traditional canoe from Hawaii. The crew was greeted by dancers, feasts and aloha.

"It was awesome," Baybayan said. "Every place we went they were excited about having the canoe visit their communities. By doing so we honored them as being family in this great Pacific ohana."


The public can track the progress of the Hokule'a on the World Wide Web at

Photographs from the Hokule'a are available at

Hokule'a to Rapa Nui
Jun. 7, 1999
Rapa Nui, the Loneliest Island
Jun. 14, 1999


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