Mark your calendar — Hokule‘a sailing to Hawaii Island in April

  • The Hokule‘a arrives June 17 at Magic Island in Honolulu. No modern navigation instrumentation guided the double-hulled canoe as it followed the horizon during a three-year journey around the globe. (Craig T. Kojima/The Star-Advertiser via AP/File)
  • Courtesy photo Hokule‘a sails toward the Statue of Liberty in New York in 2016.

  • Photo courtesy of SAM LOW The Hokule‘a sails off Diamond Head on Oahu.

After circumnavigating the globe for three years, Hokule‘a’s historic Malama Honua voyage will officially come full circle in April when the double-hulled sailing canoe returns to Hawaii Island.

The trip is part of a statewide mahalo sail that’s been occuring since the crew returned home in June.


Hokule‘a embarked on its around-the-world voyage from Hilo Bay in May 2014.

The canoe will leave Honolulu on the 60-hour sail to Hawaii Island, arriving April 21 in Wailoa Harbor, said Kalepa Baybayan, Hokule‘a navigator and captain.

Events at the dock will include tours of the canoe, school field trips and an education and community fair.

“My hope is to get every single school-age child to visit the canoe while the canoe is here for the six weeks,” Baybayan told Hawaii County Council members during a presentation Tuesday. He said he is building a ramp to make the canoe wheelchair accessible.

Hokule‘a will arrive May 5 at Kawaihae and May 12 at Kailua-Kona. Baybayan said other possible stops include Miloli‘i and Honaunau.

Hokule‘a will depart back to Oahu on May 26.

As part of the mahalo sail, Hokule‘a has visited Maui and Kauai and is visiting Molokai this month.

Baybayan said the trip to Hawaii Island will be the hardest for the crew because they will be sailing into the trade winds.

“Anytime you go east from Oahu upwind, it’s an endeavor,” he said.


Baybayan said the crew will use a sailing technique known as tacking, which involves making a zig-zag pattern, to sail against the wind. A tug boat will accompany the canoe to help keep it on schedule if needed.

Email Tom Callis at tcallis@hawaiitribune-herald.com.