Hōkūleʻaʻs latest destination, Mauritius, is a small island nation about 1,200 miles off the South East Coast of Africa. Much like our island homes in the Pacific, Mauritius has also faced the harsh consequences of environmental decline over the past decades.
One of the missions of the Worldwide Voyage is to exchange with the world’s citizens about how to best protects our island Earth. Most recently the crew teamed up with reef conservation to showcase their vehicles of education, the traditional voyaging canoe, Hōkūleʻa, and the mobile marine science station wagon, Bis Lamer.
Sameer Kudeer, Education Coordinator at Reef Conservation, explained, “We are here today with Reef Conservation with our bus, Bis Lamer. From the invitation we received from the Hōkūleʻa team to try also to exchange what they are doing and what we are doing in terms of knowledge about the marine ecosystems.“
Kālepa Baybayan, Master Navigator aboard Hōkūleʻa, said, “Today we have two schools visiting us from a local intermediate school, 12 year olds. So we will be engaging them, taking them on board, sharing our star compass with them, telling them about our project Mālama Honua, and giving them a tour of the canoe.“
Kudeer said, “We also received kids from two schools. They’ve been visiting the boat, talking with the team on the boat, but we also have them on the bus to see, look into the microscopes to know what really is in the seawater and why it is important to protect these ecosystems. The aim of this bus is to try and bring reef and try to bring different issues of climate change and also coastal environmental issues to schools. We try to make them discover coastal marine habitats we have around the country, around Mauritius. And also to talk about the impacts. What are the daily impacts they can have on the environment and coastal zones and how they could change their habits to reduce these impacts. Many of them start asking questions about where they are living and also the impacts they have even if they don’t live near the coastal zones. Mauritians understand that if we don’t start changing the habits we are going to lose many places where they use to have recreational activities. It’s time now to take actions and see how we can work together to find solutions. It’s time now to take actions and see how we can work together to find solutions.”