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

Hokulea! 1975

Photo by Robert B. Goodman for Polynesian Voyaging Society

Not since Kamehameha…

The place is Kaneohe Bay; the date, 1975. But not since the days of Kamehameha has such a Polynesian canoe-blessing ritual been seen in Hawaii. The occasion was yesterday’s launching of a double-hulled craft which the Polynesian Voyaging Society will attempt to sail to Tahiti and back next summer. For more pictures and the story, see Hawaii Report on Page A-3.

(Star-Bulletin & Advertiser, 5/9/1975, p. 1)

Star&Advertiser_3_9_1975_1.png

Sunday Star-Bulletin and Advertiser, Page A1, March 9, 1975.

 

Greatest Mariners, 1938 / 2015.

POLYNESIANS AS MARINERS SEEN

Dr. Buck Terms Early Polynesians Greatest Mariners World Has Ever Known

HONOLULU, Nov. 29—Dr. Peter Buck, director of the Bishop Museum, last night termed the early Polynesians the greatest mariners the world has ever known.

Dr. Buck, who will leaves soon for Yale University to lecture on primitive religions, spoke at a dinner in his honor attended by almost 200 persons. He was introduced by Frank Atherton.

He said it was probable that some of the early Polynesians reached the shores of America. He traced the possibility in similarity of certain words, such as that for sweet potato itself was brought into the South Seas from the American continent. Continue reading

More on the Hokulea, 1980.

Editorial

We should not look upon the voyage of Hokuleʻa with the thought that out ethnic pride and awareness will be re-vitalized. This type of pride we search for should emulate [emanate] from within ourselves and should be a constant part of our daily lives. We must not rely wholly upon occasional events to stir up reminders of our dignity and abilities lest we become fleeting images for display; pieces in a show case.

The importance of the upcoming voyage of Hokuleʻa lies in a different discovery: the opportunity we have to discover how our ancestors conceptualized their world, how they responded to the challenges after leaving their homelands and how they attempted to survive in this new land, today our homeland. Grasping this knowledge we too can be committed to accept the challenges before us with the same determination of our ancestors.

[Some thoughts from thirty-four years ago. How have things changed? How have things stayed the same?]

(Alahou, 2-3/1980, p. 12)

Ka ʻOlelo a Na Luna hoʻoponopono

Ke Alahou, Helu 4, Aoao 12. February/March 1980.

Kau ka pea, holo ka waa, 1980.

HOKULEʻA SAILS AGAIN

Hold on to the course! Hold on to the course! Continue On!

by Wayne Washburn, Malcolm Naea Chun and Duke Wise

In early March the Hokuleʻa will again set sail in hopes of reaching first landfall somewhere near Tahiti. Crewmen and scientists will concentrate efforts on documenting the thinking process, and methods, which may have been used by the ancient Polynesian navigators.

Without first voyage demonstration to the modern world two important findings. First, was that navigation by the stars without use of modern navigational instruments can be successfully used when travelling between Tahiti and Hawaii. Second, a Polynesian double-hulled canoe without keels or deep centerboards is able to sail to windward, and thus maintain planned course. For the present voyage celestial navigation will once again be of primary importance. Where the first voyage showed that celestial navigation was possible, the presēnt will pay particular attention to the recording of the thought process of the navigator.

Dr. Will Kyselka of the Bishop Museum Planetarium, and an assistant to the project, cited an incident involving a highly skilled non-instrument navigator from Satawal, Mau Piailug. Once caught in a storm for three days, Mau was unable to sail or use celestial markers for assistance. After the storm, though his course direction had been turned around many times, Mau miraculously found his way home to his tiny atoll of Satawal. Dr. Kyselka suggested that maybe there are maps within some of the more skilled navigators’ minds. He mentioned that pigeons are said to find their bearings in flight by being able to sense the difference magnetic fields given off by certain structures. Using the changes in magnetic fields the pigeons are able to draw a mental map and find their way home. Did the Polynesians possess this ability or something which would enable them to find Tahiti and Hawaii with regularity?

Captaining the voyage down will be Gordon Piianaia. Navigating for the trip will be Nainoa Thompson. There to assist Thompson will be Mau Piailug, the navigator from the 1976 voyage. Crew member Steve Somsen will be documenting the navigation process. This will be done by conferring with Nainoa and Mau and then orally recording it through the use of a tape recorder. Hopefully this will shed more light on the Polynesians’ navigational thought process.

The Ishka, a sailing vessel captained by Alex Jackobenko with assistance from his wife Elsa will follow some distance behind Hokuleʻa. Dr. Kyselka will be on board to study and document the route of the Hokuleʻa using modern navigational instruments and charts. On completion of the voyage the two styles of navigation will be compared for scientific value.

March has been designed for departure because it is the season that tends to favor the northeast tradewinds which are important for the first half of the voyage. Like the 1976 voyage the canoe will travel southeasterly for about 1000 miles. Once “easting” is accomplished winds blowing from the southeast will be used to rēach first landfall or Tahiti from a windward approach. This “easting” is important in that not enough movement in that direction might cause them to sail west of Tahiti and miss the islands completely. Certain safety features have been added to the canoe in order to avoid swamping problems encountered in previous inter-island trips. The gunwales and hatches have been raised to help prevent water seepage into the hulls. Also on board will be six hand pumps, a radio and flares. The radio will be used to notify the Hokuleʻa’s escort boat in case of an emergency. Certain sections of the hulls will contain inflated rubber. In the event that the hulls are accidentally smashed these will enable the canoe to remain afloat. Although non-instrumental navigation is the paramount research project of this voyage, other projects are being encouraged on a smaller scale. One of these is to fish using traditional types of fishhooks to learn how they were used. This hopefully will also provide a supplement to the crew’s diet by adding fresh fish. While conducting the fishing experiments crew members will record how the differences of fishhooks: design, material and size; the speed of the canoe; the types of fish caught and other factors affect fishing in the deep sea. These fishhooks are being faithfully copied from authentic fishhooks under the supervision of Sam Ka’ai of Kaanapali, Maui. Ancient fishhooks were made from materials such as shell, coral, turtle shell, dog and human bones and even hard woods.

In 1964, Drs. Kenneth Emory and Y. Sinoto of the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, found a Tahitian one-piece fishhook at Maupiti in the Society Islands. They proposed a theory that this type of fishhook is the same as found in various sites in Hawaii. After its initial introduction they believe it became a major type used by the ancient Hawaiians, Today, other anthropologists are not as certain if Tahitian migrations caused the popularity of this fishhook, but nonetheless, the experiments conducted by crew members of the Hokuleʻa should provide some information that may help the on going research in finding common links between the ancient Hawaiian society and the Southern Polynesians.

With a crew of fourteen, the Hokuleʻa is scheduled to depart from Hilo on…

(Ke Alahou, 2-3/1980, p. 1)

Ka Waʻa Nui E Holo Ai...

Ke Alahou, Helu 4, Aoao 1. February/March 1980.

…the first favorable day after March 2.

Editor’s comment: The projects conducted by the crew of the Hokuleʻa remind us of the legend of Hema, a pan-Polynesian legend about a great super chief.

Hema was the son of Aikanaka and his wife Hinaaimalama of Hana, Maui. Hema’s wife was called Hina-polipoli and they lived at Kipahulu, East Maui. When she was pregnant with their second child, Hina craved for the eyeball of a large fish of the open, deep sea. This fish had a tail like that of the shark, Ahiale and was called Kekukaipaoa.

Hema prepared all his fishing gear and made ready the double-hulled canoe by loading enough food and water for several days. He covered his canoes with many mats, lashing them down with cords so that sea water could not seep in. When the canoe was covered securely, he hung his fishing line, Pupuwaiakolea, above the top of the poles that were between the hulls of the canoes. He put the end of the line through a knot he had tied and then he set up his cord calabash, which was called Kumaaiku. He took out the fishhook and tied the end of the fish line tightly around it fastening it to the pole.

Hema’s fishhook was not made of human bone like some of those found in the Bishop Museum, nor was it made of whale bone or turtle shell like Manaiakalani. It was made of a branch of wood whose name is not known today. The kikala or the intersection of the barbs, is found at the branch closest to the trunk of the tree. When this branch is laid flat, three other branches project from it. These branches are broken so they are short and sharp. This joint is called lehua, perhaps after the flower. The shank knob of the fishhook is called muʻo and this is where the fish line is tied. The name of Hema’s fishhook is Papalahoʻomau and still survives today as the name of the Congregational Church in Kipahulu.

It was later on in the story that Hema was blown off course and his voyage to Kahiki or Holani-ku began.

(Alahou, 2-3/1980, p. 11)

ʻelua o March.

Ke Alahou, Helu 4, Aoao 11. February/March 1980.