The Polynesian double-hulled canoe Hokulea moored in Radio Bay, Hilo.

The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) bids farewell and Aloha to the Hawaiian sailing canoe, Hokulea.  The double-hulled vessel departed Friday for Tahiti, helmed by Master Navigator and PISCES Cultural Advisory Committee member, Kalepa Baybayan, who is one of five master navigators who take shifts on the Hokulea. On shore, fellow committee members Kimo Pihana and PISCES Test Logistics/EPO Manager John Hamilton were present for the sendoff.

IMG_1416 web

Onlookers sendoff the Hokulea at Hilo’s Radio Bay on Friday, May 30.

Hokulea means ‘Star of Gladness’ in Hawaiian, and refers to the zenith star known to Europeans as Arcturus which passes directly overhead the Islands.  The vessel departed as part of its Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage spanning 26 countries across the globe.  Raising global awareness and the importance of sustainable living are key efforts in the voyage, as well as cultural exchange and cooperation.

Sea-faring and space exploration share close parallels and PISCES is proud to support the global effort of discovery.  The planets have been likened to the islands in a sea of space, and Master Navigator Nainoa Thompson called the early Polynesians the “astronauts of their time.”

Follow the incredible journey of Hokulea and learn more through the Polynesian Voyaging Society at http://www.hokulea.com and http://pvs.kcc.hawaii.edu.