Ancient sailing canoes land in Hanalei Bay (photo by Aaron Feinberg www.afeinbergphotography.com)

Ancient sailing canoes land in Hanalei Bay (photo by Aaron Feinberg www.afeinbergphotography.com)

BY MAHANA DUNN, RA – Traditional voyaging canoes landed in Hanalei, Kauai; an epic trans-Pacific adventure.

Ancient Polynesian culture literally landed in our backyard yesterday as 7 traditional double-hulled sailing canoes arrived upon our shores in Hanalei Bay.

These 7 canoes, complete with 16 crew members each, all hail from our various Polynesian neighbors. Chiefs and representatives arrived from Tahiti, New Zealand, Cook Islands, Samoa, and various other small island nations with one message: “We are all family in the vast ocean of the Pacific.”

This was the first time ever these island nations sailed in unison; an epic journey of thousands of miles aboard stout vessels modeled from Polynesian ancient voyaging canoes and is a very special event here in Hawaii. It has been 800 years since an event like this has happened upon our golden shores. Just like when the first Polynesian navigators landed here on Kauai thousands of years ago, these brave men and women from all over the Pacific were welcomed with open arms at a beautiful traditional ceremony on July 6th.

This voyaging legacy of master navigators and sailors brought their message of ocean awareness to their neighbors in the Islands of Aloha (Hawaii). Their heartfelt message was the Pacific Ocean is home to all of us who live here and we are all one ‘ohana (family). We must all become more aware of our waters and the effect humans have on the sea.

They departed from Kauai July 7 and the navigator’s next voyage will be to San Francisco and then to San Diego to continue to be ambassadors of aloha (love) and ocean awareness. They will then sail to the Galapagos Islands and then finally back home to their respected countries, completing a full circle.

Mahana Dunn writes for HawaiiLife.com

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