Hawaiian Boat Follows the Sea Paths of Ancestors

Jan 21, 2014

Hokulea under way
Credit Sam Low

Sam Low's book Hawaiki Rising tells the saga of an inspiring revival of indigenous culture by sailors who followed the ancient travel routes of their ancestors. The sailors used a vessel named Hokule’a  (Hawaiian for the star Arcturus)– a replica of a double-hull Polynesian voyaging canoe. In the last 40 years, Hokule’a has sailed 140,000 miles - from Hawaii to Tahiti, New Zealand, Samoa, Easter Island - following ancient routes. Her crew used the same techniques that allowed early navigators to find land across thousands of miles of trackless ocean.

Thor Heyerdahl (author of Kon Tiki) believed Polynesians drifted into the Pacific from South America on crude rafts, pushed by prevailing winds and currents. But the real story is far more interesting – they sailed against these winds and currents from island Southeast Asia in sophisticated sailing craft. Mindy Todd has the story on The Point.