Final Day of Preparation and Departure for Midway

Final Day of Preparation and Departure for Midway

Friday, June 12, 2009

05Holukea Ship
Hokule’a – Polynesian canoe. Photo credit: Miriam Sutton

Our last day in Honolulu focused on final preparations for our voyage to the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. As this week has progressed, there has been an absorption of the culture and heritage associated with the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, and today I truly began to feel what the locals refer to as the “Aloha” spirit.  Each day of the workshop began with a Hawaiian pule (prayer) asking for guidance and knowledge as we prepared for our journey to the monument. Each day, we met with policy officials and Hawaiian natives to learn about proper protocols and beliefs. Each day, we were surrounded by wise stewards who are passionate about their research and their contributions for sustaining Hawaiian history and culture for generations to come. We have been charged with their honor, challenged with their commitment, and blessed by their guidance for this journey. We are humbled to have this privilege granted to us that we might learn from Papahānaumokuākea and transfer this knowledge back to our own communities.

05Captain showing quarters
Hokule’a crewman discusses life at sea on board the Hokule’a (Photo Credit: Miriam Sutton)

Before leaving for the airport, we had an opportunity to meet another group of voyagers and help them to load their vessel for a journey to one of the neighboring islands. The Hokule’a (shown in the today’s photo) is a two-masted outrigger canoe used in education/outreach programs and has played a pivotal role in bringing ancient Hawaiian culture back to a new generation of Hawaiians. The canoe’s design is based on the original voyaging canoe design used by the early Polynesians who traveled to these islands centuries ago… before GPS… before satellite navigation systems… before radar. These brilliant voyagers traversed the oceans using celestial navigation and interpreting wave deflections and local bird knowledge to infer the location of islands in the sea. In 2012, the crew plans to circumnavigate the globe with Hokule’a while providing education and outreach to classrooms around the world.

We departed Oahu around 5:00PM with all the well-wishes our hearts could hold and arrived at Midway after 9:00PM. As we touched down on the runway, our heads were pressed into the windows hoping to penetrate the darkness that shrouded the island and all of its inhabitants. As we were shuttled to our rooms via golf carts, albatross chicks and their parents flanked our pathway as if honoring our arrival with their presence. After a quick stroll to the beach by flashlight, we headed for our beds and some much needed rest. It seems so much like Christmas eve, as we anxiously await the morning light to see all the surprises laid out before us. I have never seen 12 educators so excited to be in the same place.


Modern technological advances such as global positioning systems (GPS) take much of the guess work out of today’s navigation. GPS can be used to find a favorite fishing hole or directions to the mall. GPS has also made Geocaching and Benchmarking enjoyable outdoor activities. Learn more about Geocaching and Benchmarking by following this hyperlink. Go have an adventure and give geocaching or benchmarking and let me know if you find something interesting.