On 17 June 2017, the Polynesian voyaging canoe Hokule’a sailed into her homeport of Honolulu, Hawaii. It was the completion of a 47,000-mile, three-and-a-half year voyage, around the world entirely under sail. The 12.5-ton, 62-foot double-hulled vessel is a replica of the vessels used for nearly two millennia to journey across vast stretches of the Pacific. In Hawaiian, Hokule’a means “Star of Gladness,” referring to the zenith star Arcturus.
A crowd estimated at 50,000 greeted Hokule’a’s arrival. It was a proud time for Hawaiians, whose ancestors had employed “wayfinding” to navigate across 10 million square miles of the Pacific. Though this art was practiced for nearly 2000 years, by the 20th Century it was extinct in Polynesia.