KAILUA-KONA — She’s off.
Community members gathered Thursday evening at Kawaihae to celebrate the voyaging canoe Makalii journey, which launched Friday on its voyage to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands of Nihoa and Mokumanamana.
More than 100 people showed up for the “sailabration” gifting the vessel with ti leaves before it set off on the first leg of its journey to Maui.
Makalii Voyaging Ohana will next sail to Oahu, and depart for Mokumanamana Thursday or Friday. The voyage should take approximately 10 days, one way, and the double-hulled canoe should arrive back home in Kawaihae on about June 30.
“The purpose of the voyage is really quite deep. It’s about recognizing that Hawaiian people have the need to voyage. And this will be a way to support the health of our Hawaiian people,” Na Kalai Waa spokeswoman Keomailani Case said..
The voyage, titled Hanaunaola, is made possible by a Department of Health and Human Services Administration grant.
The project is in the final year of the three-year grant — $388,328 in fiscal year 2018 — with this voyage as the culminating event. The voyage to Mokumanamana is in partnership with the Edith Kanakaole Foundation, which has been conducting research about and at Mokumanamana for the past 14 years.
The main objectives of the grant is to train crew for “leadership legacy,” work with community to provide 30 days worth of food for the canoe, and to combine the first two objectives to plan and “execute a capstone voyage to actualize learning via practice.”
Hawaii Tribune-Herald reporter John Burnett contributed to this report.