VOICES Ideas and Insight From Explorers
To minimize the likelihood of trouble at sea, our voyaging leaders pay extra close attention to the weather, ensuring that we only sail when the wind is favorable. As a result, there are often long stretches of time where we must wait patiently in port for the weather to shift. This, however, does not mean that we wait idly.
On this Worldwide Voyage, we have learned to flexible in ALL things, but especially with timing. However, one thing that we definitely did not want to miss out on was the opportunity to visit the beautiful iSimangaliso Wetland Park in the KwaZulu-Natal region of South Africa.
Several days ago, Hōkūle’a made landfall at Richards Bay, South Africa. This is the first of several stops in the country where so many significant stories of the Worldwide Voyage will be told. Upon arrival, Hōkūle’a crew were greeted by community members of all different backgrounds. Among those who greeted the crew was Romeo Njabulo, a young Zulu man and member of the Roving Reporters.
The crewmembers aboard the voyaging canoe, Hōkūle’a, are a few days from reaching South Africa on their Worldwide Voyage. In preparing for this leg of the voyage, the concept of “ubuntu” kept coming up as a foundational element of South African culture. We learned that “ubuntu” is a Zulu word that serves as a guiding belief for societal values in the country. But to truly understand the depth and beauty of this word, we know that we must experience it first-hand, much like we do with “aloha” back home.
Every two years, the Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival in Australia brings together people for a spectacle of sights, sounds, and dust.
“It’s not just about protecting our land and sea. What we do also strengthens our people to stand up and stand together. That’s the biggest thing for us.”
The Great Barrier Reef spans more than 1,400 miles and is considered one of the best-preserved marine sites on Earth. Naturally, we needed to see this for ourselves. We needed to take the voyage underwater.
The Micronesian island of Yap banned the use of plastic bags to protect the local environment—and discovered additional benefits along the way.
After several exciting weeks of traversing the Northland of Aotearoa (New Zealand) and interacting with incredible communities all throughout, our leg of the Worldwide Voyage finally concluded with a sail into Auckland, the capital city, and a day of ceremonies.
It’s been two weeks since arriving in Aotearoa (New Zealand) to continue the Worldwide Voyage, which on this leg is inside New Zealand itself! One of our stops was the Waipoua Forest along the Hokianga coast to see the mighty kauri trees that lived therein.
After almost six months since departing from Hawai‘i, the Worldwide Voyage arrived in Aotearoa (New Zealand) to a Maori welcoming ceremony that was not only stunning to see, but historical as well.
This particular leg of the voyage, starting in Samoa and ending in New Zealand, is deeply significant because it follows the path of ancient Polynesian voyagers through the Kermadec Islands. Today, it is one of the most species-rich migration routes in the Pacific.
The true success of the Worldwide Voyage will not be measured by how many miles Hōkūle’a has sailed but by how many people, especially youth, grow to become better stewards of the Earth.