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

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