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Four-year canoe voyage to visit 36 countries

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The Polynesian Voyaging Society is setting sail in June on a four-year adventure around the Pacific Ocean. The journey will visit 36 countries and territories, with an estimated 43,000 nautical miles to be covered by around 400 crew members.

The vessel, Hōkūle’a, will begin the voyage by sailing to Yakutat, Alaska, to pay homage to Native Alaskan leaders and to honour the places that built the long-standing relationship between Hawai’i and Alaska. Hōkūle’a’s sister canoe, Hikianalia, will join the expedition in Seattle in August.

Polynesian Voyaging Society Chief Executive Nainoa Thompson said the journey aims to ignite a movement of 10 million “planetary navigators,” by engaging communities around the world and developing young leaders.

The society’s goal is to “reclaim our relationship to the earth” and work towards building a future that is good enough for children. The voyage will cover the Pacific, Mexico, Central America, South America, Polynesia, Melanesia, Micronesia, and Palau, ending in Japan. From Japan, the canoes will be shipped back to Los Angeles and then sail home to Hawai’i in Spring 2027.

Thompson said the most challenging aspect of the voyage is the “achievement of the mission,” as it requires building relationships grounded in respect and trust, which is crucial for peace. This is not just about the oceans but about taking discovery and moving towards choices that will help build a better future.

The Polynesian Voyaging Society’s journey is an inspiring example of the power of community and the courage to take on challenges for the sake of the greater good.

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