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Culture

Hokulea Visit to Keauhou Bay

Hawaiian Sailing Canoe, the Hokulea, Visits Keauhou Bay

On July 31, 2013, in what Hawaii calls a “chicken-skin moment” (goose bumps), the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s Hokulea sailed in front of Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa and into Keauhou Bay.

Hokulea entering Keauhou BayThe crew was greeted by Sheraton Kona staff and management from the resort’s Paakai Point, which marks the entrance to Keauhou Bay. This location is particularly symbolic since there was once a heiau, or temple, where Paakai Point is now. It was important for Sheraton Kona team members to stand at the point and acknowledge the arrival of the canoe on behalf of that sacred site. Even though the heiau isn’t visible anymore, it is moments such as this that call for acknowledgement of traditions that honor those who came before.

Sheraton Kona team members were also aboard the Kini Kini sailing canoe which is home-based at Keauhou Bay. They welcomed the Hokulea with Hawaiian drums, or pahu, sounding from the Kini Kini. Sheraton Kona general manager Matthew Grauso, along with other resort staff, then gifted commemorative shirts to the crew to honor the special occasion. The shirts will also be sold in The Flying Fish and the proceeds will be donated to the Polynesian Voyaging Society.

Hokulea docked at Keauhou BayAs a symbol of cleansing and healing for their journey, Sheraton Kona then presented the crew with paakai, or sea salt, which was once a valued commodity of the Hawaiians who called Keauhou home.

The Hokulea’s stop at Keauhou Bay and the display of her sister canoe Mauloa were among many stops scheduled throughout the State to establish Malama Honua (Taking Care of Island Earth) in Hawaii and to connect the canoes with our island communities before beginning the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s Worldwide Voyage.

The Worldwide Voyage is scheduled to begin with a departure for the South Pacific in May 2014. The mission of the Worldwide Voyage is to navigate toward a healthy and sustainable future for ourselves, our home – the Hawaiian Islands – and our Island Earth through voyaging and new ways of learning. The core message is to malama (care for) Island Earth – our natural environment, children and all humankind.

Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa was honored to witness these vessels and join others in welcoming them and their dedicated crew to Keauhou.

Guests of Sheraton Kona can experience the Kini Kini Hawaiian sailing canoe during a visit to the resort to gain a sense of the intrinsic value of the sailing canoe and what it represents in the Hawaiian culture. The Kini Kini honors all sailing canoes. On board, visitors are regaled with stories about the important role these vessels played both in day to day lives and as part of key historical events.

To learn more or to follow Hokulea’s progress, visit hokulea.org