Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia left Oʻahu and docked at Palekai, Hilo, on Hawaiʻi Island, where they will take off on the beginning of their Worldwide Voyage; But why Hilo?
Pwo Navigator, Nainoa Thompson says that, “starting from Hilo, from the sailors point of view, we can go to these 23 different ports downwind.”
In addition to the technical benefits of sailing downwind, there is a deeper reason for leaving from Hilo.
Thompson says, “For me personally, this island, this moku,this ʻāina, it’s spirit is very deep and therefore the canoe needs to be put in that spirit.There is a place, I’ve been there a couple of times to study the stars and it’s a very deep and spiritual place and it’s a place they call the first light, Kumukahi.”
Kumukahi is the most Hikina, most Eastern part of Hawaiʻi Island, and therefore the entire island chain, where the sun rises and first light hits the islands.
“That spiritually, even though I don’t know that place, I’m not a historian, I’m not from this place…There is kind of an intuitive spiritual gravity that I put there, by myself as a young man, knowing that it’s a special place. And to me, the voyage needs to begin in the light. And it needs to begin in the first light.” says Thompson.
Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia are scheduled to leave Palekai and sail to Kalae, Kaʻū on Friday, June 14th, 2013.