After a visit to Annapolis, Md., the voyaging canoe Hokule‘a is headed into dry dock in Virginia and is likely to remain there until early November.
Ken Niumatalolo, head football coach at the U.S. Naval Academy, greeted the voyagers as they docked at Annapolis Maritime Museum on Thursday after traveling 50 miles from Chesapeake City.
“It’s super emotional for me to be able to see the Hokule‘a here in Annapolis, being that Hawaii is my home,” said Niumatalolo, who has lived in Annapolis for 20 years.
In a video on the Polynesian Voyaging Society website, he called it a “special, special day” for him and his family “to see the Hokule‘a and all that it represents for the people of Hawaii and the people of Polynesia, all the good things that they’re doing.”
Crew members blew conch shells and chanted as they arrived in Annapolis, then invited the coach and others aboard the vessel for a tour.
Hokule‘a’s arrival in the city made a splash in the Annapolis newspaper, Capital Gazette, which ran an article, photo gallery and video. Polynesian Voyaging Society President Nainoa Thompson explained the mission of the voyage.
“The reason this canoe is so valuable is it could be the match that lit the flame of renaissance” in Hawaiian culture and in the concept of “malama honua,” or caring for the earth, he told the Gazette.
On Friday retired Navy Cmdr. Art Harris gave the Hokule‘a sailors a tour of the U.S. Naval Academy and filled them in on its history. Crew members also had time to explore the historic streets of Annapolis and visit a boat show.
The Hokule‘a left Annapolis on Friday afternoon and traveled 120 miles to Poquoson, Va., near Newport News.
This dry dock is the last expected during the worldwide voyage, a chance for inspection and repairs. The last dry dock was in Cape Town, South Africa, late last year.
Recently the voyaging canoe has been traveling the northern tier of the East Coast. It left Haverstraw, N.Y., late Monday, after waiting for Hurricane Matthew to pass and winds to die down on its way to Chesapeake Bay.
“The worldwide voyage is a dangerous thing to do,” Thompson, master navigator, said before leaving New York. “There’s a lot of risk, and at the top of the list are hurricanes. You just don’t go in them.”