SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — After dodging two hurricanes along the way, a Polynesian voyaging canoe arrived in San Francisco Sunday completing a journey that began in the Hawaiian Islands.
The Hikianalia arrived at SF’s Aquatic Park after completing the 2800-mile journey propelled by nature itself — the wind, the waves, even the sun.
The canoe was created using an ancient design with some modern advances and while it takes its power from the Earth the intention is to give something back.
“It started when we had an idea to come all the way across the ocean to see the people on the other side, knowing that the problems, the challenges, but also the hope that we have for our earth is the same on the other side,” said Lehua Kamalu, the Hikianalia Captain and Navigator
Centuries ago, Polynesian explorers set sail across the Pacific on vessels just like this, but without a solar powered motor or modern communications.
“They were really the astronauts of our ancestors,” said Nainoa Thompson, President of the Polynesian Voyaging Society. “They were the greatest explorers on the face of the Earth.”
The crew of 13 left Hawaii on August 18th and stayed on course using only their ancestors’ ancient navigation techniques and arrived right on time after 23 days and 2,800 miles at sea. It was a real test of faith.
“You really gotta learn to trust in yourself, trust in your knowledge, trust in your ancestors,” said Kalani Asano, an apprentice navigator. “And don’t doubt. Never doubt.”
Much of the landing ceremony was shared with members of the local Muwekma Ohlone tribe. It was one indigenous people to another coming together to express their concerns for what they refer to as “Island Earth.”
“Yes, indigenous people are on the forefront of that because they know what if feels like when things are starting to disappear,” Kamalu said.