This is the second week of the Polynesian Voyager Canoe visiting Yorktown. John Raines of York River Yacht Haven was there for the creation. He joined the Williamsburg Area Learning Tree for a six-hour training day.
“I was 20 years old in 1970 when they launched the Hokule-a in Hawaii. It was recreated to demonstrate how Hawaii was populated by Polynesians. Now the boat goes all over the world. Eddie Aikau was the famous adventurer who pioneered big wave surfing. He was lost at sea while riding the Hokule-a. It’s all recorded in the book ‘Eddie Would Go.'”
From what I read, he joined the crew for a 2,500-mile journey, and one of the hulls began to leak and sink. Aikau swam off on a surfboard for help and was never seen again. The others were rescued.
“I went over to Yorktown to check out the boat and took some crew members to The Pub. They sail for one month at a time before rotating off for another crew. They’re graduate students and medical students, a crew of six but don’t hold me to it. They came here from Titusville, up the Intercoastal Waterway. Not sure if they motored or were towed.”
According to the website covering the voyage up the East Coast of the United States, the boat has no instruments and is making the circumnavigation much as they would 600 years ago when the first canoes were launched. The website describes the voyage as more than an adventure:
“Beyond a daring expedition, the Worldwide Voyage is quite possibly the most important mission that Hawaii has ever attempted. As people of Oceania, we are leading a campaign that gives voice to our ocean and planet by highlighting innovative solutions practiced by cultures around the planet.”
From Yorktown, the canoe will head out to Tangier Island, Old Town Alexandria, Washington and New York City.
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