by Visit Ventura
Crossing the Pacific Ocean guided only by the stars in the sky is no small feat but Hikinalia’s crew was determined to sail more than 2,800 miles over 23 days from the shores of Hawaiʻi across the North Pacific to California carrying a message of Mālama Honua –caring for our Island Earth. Powered by currents, the wind, and the sun, the 13-person crew demonstrated the important relationship between humanity and the natural environment taking cues from nature rather than modern navigational instruments to guide the way. They arrived in Northern California just in time for the Global Climate Action Summit, Sept. 12–14. The Hikianalia sailed into Ventura Harbor on a beautiful Sunday morning in October accompanied by local outrigger canoe paddlers. The crew was greeted with chants and dance at a welcome ceremony that included the Barbareño/Ventureño Band of Mission Indians of the Chumash Nation, the indigenous people of this area traditionally known as Chumash Territory.
The crew was led by 32-year-old Lehua Kamalu, the first female solo navigator to captain a traditional canoe on such a journey.
What’s it all for?
As Earth warms and weather patterns shift, humanity is experiencing the dire impacts of climate change. On low-lying islands across the Pacific Islands, sea level rise is more prevalent than ever before, as loss of land threatens the existence of entire cultures and communities. Thirteen young Voyagers from the Polynesian Voyaging Society sought to raise awareness and urgency around these challenges carrying the spirit of their culture and ancestors on the voyage.