Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Welcoming the Hōkūleʻa to the Northeast - Summer '16, but the preparations have begun!

Hōkūleʻa at Sunrise. Photo: Jason Patterson - from Hokulea.com

Welcoming the 
Hōkūleʻa Crew to NYC - She won't be here until July 2016, but the preparations have begun, and I'm very happy to be part of the welcoming committee.  I did a whole series of Facebook posts today, which I'll just lift for blog posts over the next couple of days.

Part 1: The Blither, plus Event #1. My first Facebook post fell pretty flat. I'd posted it late last night with this pretty picture, which may have distracted people from the wordy wordy words, of which there were far too many (not unusual for me but this time there was actually stuff I wanted people to see all the way through). Today, I reposted in more manageable pieces, as I'll do here. I started out with a bit of a blither, just 'cause it's so cool. Here's that, by way of intro - plus the first event (fantastic concert on Saturday, info down at the end if you want to skip the blither):

Last December, I think it was, I got an email from Rob Buchanan (who's very active with the Village Community Boathouse and the New York City Watertrail Association, and whose New York Harbor Beaches was a key inspiration for the New York City Watertrail) that just about made me fall off of my ergonomic office chair.

He was going to a preliminary meeting of a committee that was forming up to help welcome the 
Hōkūleʻa to NYC in the summer of 2016. Did I want to come?

Did I??? Heck YEAH!

The voyaging canoe 
Hōkūleʻa was launched and did her first voyages when I was a kid growing up in Aiea. I wasn't as boat-crazy then as I am now, spent a lot more time in the water than on it back then, and I didn't follow that closely (also this was pre-internet, so you couldn't just sign on to the Hōkūleʻa Crew FB page every morning to see what was going on!), but I so clearly remember the pride people there felt as Nainoa Thompson brought the then-vanishing Polynesian art and science of wayfinding (which he learned from Mau Piailug, who at that time was one of the last traditionally trained navigators of the Pacific) back to Hawaii, where it had been lost for generations.

Forty years later, Nainoa is the president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, and 
Hōkūleʻa travels on. Last year, she launched on a voyage like none she'd ever done before - a multi-year trip around the world!

I've been following the 
Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage since then. At the time I got the invitation from Rob, I actually didn't know she was coming here. The original version of the map on the Worldwide Voyage website (click here for that) had showed her turning around somewhere around Virginia. I was SO disappointed to see that, I think I even said something on Facebook about how sad I was that she was coming so far on her first trip beyond the Pacific, and then turning around without a visit to New York Harbor.

Of course I was absolutely thrilled to find out that was all preliminary and she really was coming here, and I'm so excited to be part of the welcome effort. Can't wait to see that vessel that's so familiar from my youth sailing under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge - hopefully I'll be out there as part of a flotilla of all of the kayaks, canoes and rowboats in the area.

Lots to do before then though! I hadn't said much before this because everything was really, really preliminary, and the welcoming committee, which is being led by some wonderful folks from Hālāwai, a local not-for-profit that works to bring Hawaiian cultural events to NYC (including the big ho'olaule'a for New York Outrigger's annual Hawaiian Airlines Liberty Challenge - NYO is also very involved), had to coordinate with the Polynesian Voyaging Society.

Now that things are coming together, I can start talking about what's going on more! The first official event, the Mālama Honua Showcase, is actually coming up on Saturday the 2nd, starting at 3 pm in Tribeca -- it looks like it's going to be a really amazing performance. You can read more about the show and order tickets here. Don't miss the invitation to participate in the preparations - anyone (or any group) who'd like to join in is welcome!


Karen D. Austin said...

What a cool niche you have. My dad used to take us sailing out of Newport Harbor in So. Cal. when I was a tween. It's so cool that you are a water mobile person. Enjoy!

bonnie said...

Thanks! Don't think I could've handled NYC for as long as I have without the boats.

Mau said...

There is a Worldwide Voyage Institute for educators on May 16. For details, contact johnmario.sevilla@gmail.com or go to bit.ly/WWVInst_NY.

Mau said...

I forgot to mention that it's at NYU in NYC.

bonnie said...

Thank you, Mau! I'm going to post about that and the fundraiser at the Harvard Club today. The educational event sounds amazing, almost makes me wish I was a teacher (although I know it's a terribly hard and often thankless job).