More Hokulea past, 1975.

Keaulana: ‘It was beautiful.’

First cruise proves craft a humdinger

By BUNKY BAKUTIS
Advertiser Staff Writer

After the dust had settled from the day’s ceremony and the crew relaxed around beer coolers and luau food, Buffalo Keaulana, one of the two steersmen for the sailing canoe’s maiden voyage, summed up the brief cruise: “It was beautiful.

“It (the canoe) turned real easy. And when the paddling was right and the canoe was moving, it was a breeze to handle,” said Keaulana, who has been practicing sailing a smaller version of the double-hulled canoe this past year in preparation for the Tahiti trip.

SOME OF THE PADDLERS for yesterday’s ceremonial cruise into Kaneohe Bay also sung the craft’s praises. Continue reading

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Early days of the Hokulea, 1975.

Canoes blessed, voyaging society tests the water

By BRUCE BENSON
Advertiser Science Writer

At least a thousand people sat silent on the beach yesterday, watching a Polynesian canoe-blessing ritual not seen since the days of Kamehameha.

Then with hoots and hollers from the crowd, a hundred hands tugged on the lines to send a spanking-new double-hulled canoe down the ways and into Kaneohe Bay. After some two years of dreaming, the Polynesian Voyaging Society was afloat.

The society is a nonprofit group made up of everyone from just average folks to highly skilled artisans and scientists and they are all pursuing the same goal:

To attempt to send the 6–foot canoe launched yesterday to Tahiti and back next summer, using the methods and tools of the Polynesians who first sailed to Hawaii more than a thousand years ago. Continue reading