Voyage for the sea
In 2009 Fernelius moved to Hawaii and began volunteering in the yard. She said she spent a lot of time sanding and varnishing. In 2014 she did her first onboard stint on Hōkūle’a’s sistership, sailing to Tahiti. Now Fernelius is one of several volunteer skippers and trained crew who take three to four weeks away from their day jobs to sail the boat. Professionally she works as a captain on a chartered catamaran in Hawaii.
Voyaging from Yakutat, Alaska to San Diego, Hōkūle’a was enthusiastically met by paddlers, surfers, outrigger canoes, tall ships, research vessels and others on approach. They were welcomed by local First Nations people, often with traditional ceremonies and hula dancing. Hosting institutions such as Dana Point’s Ocean Institute welcomed school and public groups for tours and lectures. The mission of PVS is fourfold: to perpetuate the voyaging heritage, explore and share the world’s largest ocean and systems, educate millions of learners of all ages, and activate a new generation of ‘planetary navigators’ to pursue a better future for the planet.
In San Diego, Hōkūle’a’s arrival coincided with the 160-year birthday celebration of the Star of India, the world’s oldest active sailing tall ship. The two vessels cruising side-by-side highlighted the importance of preserving sailing history and traditions, and inspiring people to protect and honor the sea.
Originally the Moananuiākea Voyage was scheduled to continue south along Central and South American before turning west toward the South Pacific Islands. But a recent El Niño weather forecast and the devastating fires on Maui have prompted the return of Hōkūle’a to Hawaii.
“The desire is to bring Hōkūle’a home at a time when her home is hurting,” said Nainoa Thompson, the organization’s CEO. “The level of hurt that’s happening in our home is something I can’t comprehend. All I know is that we have to come home because of it. Lahaina is a voyaging powerhouse and I believe the family is going to need the canoe.”
Hōkūle’a will return to Hawaii in December, bringing its message of renewal to Maui. From there they will continue training, education and planning with the intent to resume the Moananuiākea Voyage circumnavigation of the Pacific.