2012: Events and News
2011: Events and News
Kau Wela (Dry Season) 2011
Hoʻoilo (Wet Season) 2011
2010: Events and News
December 2009: Training Sail to Palmyra
December 2008: Plan for a Training Sail to Palmyra and Christmas Island
January 2008: Ku Holo Mau (Voyage to Satawal) and Ku Holo Komohana (Voyage to Japan)
September 2006: Hokualaka‘i Launching; 2006 Malama Wa‘a (Caring for the Canoe)
August 2006: Kapu Na Keiki: Youth Training Program
December 2004: Navigating Change: NWHI Voyage Completed
Winter 2003: Northewestern Hawaiian Islands Voyage Postponed; Sail to Nihoa
Summer 2003: Marine Education Training Center; 2003 Statewide Sail
Spring 2002: Plans for Northewestern Hawaiian Islands Voyage
Summer 2001: Ocean Learning Academy
Spring 2001: 2001 Statewide Sail
Ho‘oilo (Rainy Season) 1999: Closing the Triangle: the Quest for Rapanui; Malama Hawai‘i Initiative
Kau (Dry Season) 1998: Restoring Hokule‘a; Center for Marine Sciences
Kau (Dry Season) 1997: Aloha, Wrighto; Project Ho‘olokahi
Ho‘oilo (Rainy Season) 1996-1997: Malama Hawai‘i: 1996-97 Statewide Sail
Ho‘oilo (Rainy Season) 1995-1996: Exploration Learning Center Launched
Kau (Dry Season) 1995: A Safe Successful 1995 Voyage; Northwest and West Coast Tours
Makali‘i (November-December) 1994: North to Hawai‘i, the Marquesas Connection, by Ben Finney
Hilinama (August-September) 1994: Hawai‘iloa Sea Trials, after Modification
Ka‘aona (May–June) 1994: Training and Education Sails; 1992 Voyage: 4. The Voyage Home
Nana (February–March) 1994: 1992 Voyage: 3. Sailing in the Cook Islands
Makali‘i (November-December) 1993: First Sea Trials for Hawai‘iloa Completed; Modifications Begin; 1992 Voyage: 2. Sailing in Tahiti
Fall 1993: Blessing and Launching Hawai‘iloa; 1992 Voyage: 1. Hawai‘i to Tahiti
March 1992: Building Hawai‘iloa
December 1990: Native Hawaiian Culture and Arts Program; search for logs to build Hawai‘iloa
March-April 1984: Announcing the 1985-1987 Voyage of Rediscovery
August 1975: A Voyage into Hawai‘i’s Past (1976 Voyage to Tahiti), by Ben Finney
1974: Plans for Launching of Hokule‘a on March 8, 1975
September 1974: Announcement of 3 day Polynesian Sailing Workshop at Kualoa Park
April 1974: Wa‘a Kaulua...Double Canoe, by Herb Kane. (Training on Nalehia, a 40 ft. double-hulled sailing canoe built by Ben and Ruth Finney in 1966; plans to build Hokule‘a.)

PVS Newsletter / Summer 2001

Message from President Nainoa Thompson

Aloha! It is a humbling thing for me to write to you as President of the Polynesian Voyaging Society. My father has been a strong and visionary leader and he has helped to build a proud and enduring legacy for PVS.

We have been able to accomplish much during his watch, guided by his clarity of vision, his dedication to the organization's guiding principles and values and his insistence that everything we do must malama Hawai'i ensure that our special island home is a place where the land and sea are cared for, and people and communities are healthy and safe.

The lessons learned over a quarter century of deep sea voyaging will guide us as we contribute to the effort to care for Hawai'i, and I am both excited and anxious about the work which lies ahead.

Looking for Hawai‘i. 2000 Voyage

As we move from completing 25 years of voyaging and begin to map out future direction, many of us have been grappling with the strategic plan which will guide PVS over the next five years. While the words need refinement, the ideas and principles continue to be the same ones which have always guided PVS.

For the Polynesian Voyaging Society to make meaningful contributions to our islands and beyond, we must continue voyaging and grow our voyaging community, as it is through our voyages of exploration and discovery that we inspire all levels of achievement on the part of our crew members, navi-ators in training or students in the classroom who are moved to care for their environment and their families.

We must continually work to find ways to share our voyages in lasting, far-reaching ways. This can only be done well if we work in collaboration with educational partners and organizations who can best reach our youth, so we in the voyaging community must strengthen ties with those in the education community.

Together, all of us need to be an active part of a community of stewardship, people who care for what they love by nurturing the people of these islands and the islands that give all of us life.

And, lastly, we must always work towards being a community that is inclusive one that welcomes all people who share in our desire to malama Hawai'i.

There is much for us to do, and I look forward to the journey ahead. Mahalo for your continuing support.

A Dream Unveiled: Ocean Learning Academy

Picture yourself back in high school. Walls, desks, blackboards surrounding you. Bells ringing, sounds of lockers slamming or feet running down the hallways. Now picture yourself swimming in the ocean, paddling a canoe, or sailing across the bay. Believe it or not, this describes the environment that students from the Ocean Learning Academy will be studying in beginning this September.

Nainoa teaching navigation on Hokule‘a

The Ocean Learning Academy is a combined effort of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, the UH School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), the Hawai'i Department of Education and other community partnerships. Open to juniors and seniors from public high schools on 0'ahu, this charter school program will allow students to learn about Hawai'i's cultural, social and natural environments through education and active ocean stewardship.

Dr. Paul LeMahieu, Department of Ediucation Superintendent, recognizes the importance of this unique endeavor. "The ocean plays a large part in the lives of many of our children, whether as part of their traditional or adopted culture. It has been noted that when the traditional culture and environment are not included in the learning process, great educational opportunities are missed. Ocean Learning will give students who are 'ocean -oriented' an opportunity to learn in that environment, while becoming responsibly involved in determining their futures and Hawai'i's future."

Rather than learning in the traditional classroom setting of their high schools, students of the Ocean Learning Academy will spend their entire junior and senior years in a variety of locations. Their 'classrooms' may include Maunalua Bay, Coconut Island, Maritime Museum, Pacific Aquaculture and Coastal Resources Center, Natural Energy Laboratory Hawai'i and Kane‘ohe Bay. An entire day may be spent in the water, learning about ocean tides, coastal mapping or coral reef conservation. Another may find students on a boat, studying the weather, or aboard the voyaging canoe Hokule'a with navigator Nainoa Thompson, learning about navigation by the stars.

In addition to the hands-on learning experience, students will complete online coursework in subjects such as Math, English, Social Studies and Science. The interdisciplinary standards-based curriculum was developed by DOE E-School teachers and a team from PVS and SOEST. Students are provided with laptops and will conduct online research, while collaborating with experts, both locally and globally.

Through experiential learning, students will meet their academic requirements in a new and innovative way. With its abundant and diverse natural resources, Hawai'i is the ideal environment for this creative program. Students in this program will gain a deep appreciation for these resources, and learn how to protect and preserve their surroundings.

In addition to encouraging active stewardship, students completing the two-year Ocean Learning Academy program will have many options open to them, including pursuing university degrees or careers in marine related industries.

Jerry Ongies: Passion and Dedication

He is an officer, a gentleman, and one of the Polynesian Voyaging Society's distinguished volunteers - he is Jerome "Jerry" Ongies. In January 1992, Ongies sailed as a crewmember on the Kamahele, which escorted Hokule‘a to French Polynesia and the Cook Islands on its "Voyage for Education - No Na Mamo." Upon his return, he assisted Wright Bowman, Jr. with the construction of Hawai'iloa. His hard work and dedication come from a history of service to both his country and his family.

Jerry sanding Hokue‘a’s hull. Malama Wa‘a 2002

Born in 1928 in Ola'a on the Big Island, Ongies was one of thirteen children. At eighteen, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, where he served in both the Korean War and Vietnam. He married Jean Dempster, and became a proud father of five children. Following 21 years of service in the Army, Ongies retired as a Lieutenant Colonel and continued working as a Plant Manager for Dole. Soon after his retirement eighteen years later, he discovered two passions that would lead him to PVS: woodworking and boat building,

Ongies built and sailed his own vessels and in 1980 launched and sailed "Kiopa‘a," which has since been to French Polynesia and the neighbor islands. In 1992, Ongies helped complete the escort vessel, Kamahele. "For six months, we labored at Ke'ehi Lagoon from early morning to late evening, completing 101 tasks involved in boat-building - installation of mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, and refrigeration systems to name a few. When she was fully equipped and fast enough to escort the speedy Flo-ku-le'a, we set sail." Following 29 days of a successful vovage, the Kamahele and H6ku-le'a arrived at their destination. "We arrived at Pape'ete Harbor, Tahiti to a glorious welcome!"

Bruce, Wally, and Jerry discussing repair work. Malama Wa‘a 2002

Ongies knew there was more he must do. He offered to help master canoe builder, Wright Bowman, Jr. build the voyaging canoe Hawai‘iloa, the first Hawaiian voyaging canoe built with traditional materials in hundreds of years. "From then on, I spent every Saturday for over two years at pier 35, helping to build that beautiful canoe." Ongies dedicated many hours modifying the Hawai'iloa, including lightening the canoe, re-lashing the component parts and making sure she was safe to sail. In 1995, they set sail on a voyage that would take them to the Society Islands and the Marquesas, alongside Hokule‘a.

Tim, Russ, and Jerry patching dry rot on the hull. alama Wa‘a 2002

Ongies is a member of the Friends of the Hokule‘a and Hawai‘iloa, a non-profit organization dedicated to restoring, finishing and maintaining canoes. Ongies and the organization are preparing to help Chad Baybayan and UH Hilo build their new voyaging canoe.

Sean Marrs: The Next Generation

”Being out on the canoe is so powerful - it's about being a part of something that is a lot bigger than I am.” For 23 year old Sean Marrs, sailing with the Polynesian Voyaging Society has given him a new sense of direction. Marrs, along with many other young people, represents the future of PVS and the future of Hawai‘i.

Sean (front left) pulling a lashing with the crew.

Marrs first became interested in PVS at a lecture he attended as extra-credit for his Hawaiian Studies class at UH. "I went to hear Nainoa Thompson speak at the Center for Hawaiian Studies. He talked about navigation and the future of Malama Hawai'i, which was so inspiring." The next semester Marrs took the Ho'okele Navigation Class, where he met Ka'iulani Murphy, a dedicated member of PVS. "She asked if I wanted to volunteer with PVS doing canoe tours and eventually crew the coastal sails, and I said yes!"

Marrs has since become involved with the Ho'olokahi Sailing Program, a voyaging program that teaches high school students basic sailing and navigational skills while developing leadership. "We bring the students onto E'ala (a coastal sailing canoe) and teach them the importance of safety. Once they learn about the canoe parts, we take them out to sail around Ala Moana and Waikiki. I recall the first time I was on the canoe and how powerful it was. For these kids, maybe it’ll be a defining moment in their lives."

Recently, Marrs had the privilege of sailing on Hokule‘a during the Statewide Sail. On the trip from Lahaina to Kalaupapa, his passion for sailing and exploration grew even more. During his stay on Moloka'i, Marrs met Fred Robins, a former sailor whose father was a lighthouse keeper at Kalaupapa. "He had so many stories to tell about the history of Kalaupapa. For that short moment, he impacted my life so much with his humility and lifestyle." A week later, Robins passed away.

With these experiences come many valuable lessons for Marrs and others like him who are discovering the voyaging world of the stars and the sea. “I've gained a deeper respect for people and things, and see that there is so much more to life than ourselves. I've found that you learn more by observing and listening rather than talking. I also know that I have so much to learn about seamanship and just being on the ocean. It’s going to take experience and just being there all the time.”

Tim Guard: Putting Vision into Action

It is through the generosity of people like Tim Guard that the Polynesian Voyaging Society is able to carry out its vision. From the conception of PVS, Guard has supported the organization both personally and corporately. As president and owner of stevedore company McCabe, Hamilton & Renny, Co., Guard has contributed to PVS by allowing employees Bruce Blankenfeld, Terry Hee, Bob Bee and others to take time off to sail as crewmembers of the Hokule‘a.

His long-standing support stems from a close friendship with Tommy Holmes, one of the founders of PVS. Following a three-year tour of duty in Vietnam as a lieutenant, Guard returned home to Hawai'i. "I worked for the Dillingham Corporation and was put in charge of being the liaison between Dillingham and PVS, to assist in the construction of Hokule‘a."

Guard continued his support of PVS when he joined McCabe, Hamilton & Renny in 1984. "We're 101 years old this year and have played an important role in the community for so many years. We've gained a lot from our affiliation with Hawai'i. I look on allowing my employees to sail with PVS as a part of what this organization is all about - an 'ohana, giving back to the community. It's really the least we could do to help PVS and the community as well."

"Bruce, Terry and Bob are widely respected in this workforce for their involvement with PVS. Their experience has allowed them to develop a deeper appreciation for relationships between people. They've had to lead, setting examples of courage and seamanship. Ultimately, those are some of the principle ingredients of leadership in a maritime environment."

Bruce Blankenfeld, a seasoned PVS captain / crewmember and an employee of McCabe, Hamilton & Renny for 13 years, recognizes the value of his experience with PVS in his workplace. "Inevitably, stressful, unforeseen situations will come up during a voyage. We've had to learn how to overcome adversity and push through it. That's the only way we can make it to our destination. At work, we also have to work as a team to get through the challenges."

As a foreman, Blankenfeld works with supervisors and a team of stevedores to meet the needs of their customers. He is grateful to be a part of a company that is tied into the community. "Tim has always maintained an attitude of caring for others, the Hawaiian community especially."

Guard is not only the Chairman of the Board for the Hawai'i Maritime Center, but an accomplished paddler with the Outrigger Canoe Club. He has completed more than 20 crossings of the Moloka'i Channel.

Bianca Salazar, Hawaiian at Heart

Without a doubt, Bianca Salazar is a true Hawaiian at heart. Born in Fresno, California, she and her family moved to Hawai'i seven years ago. Now, at age 15, Bianca prepares to embark on a journey of a lifetime as one of the pioneer students in the Ocean Learning Academy.

Bianca's appreciation for t the Hawaiian culture shows in her love for the ocean, surfing and paddling. Living in Hawai'i Kai, she and her family enjoy sailing out on the bay and paddling for the Hui Nalu Canoe Club. Like many other young people in Hawai'i, Bianca is a'mix' of Cherokee American Indian, Mexican, Swiss and German.“"Moving here was better for all of us. The people are so friendly and accepting of different cultures.”

Having recently completed the first three-week phase of the Ocean Learning Academy, Bianca is excited about the opportunities ahead. During the summer school session, Bianca and fourteen other students were introduced to Maunalua Bay, while training for Red Cross water safety and lifeguard certification.

Each morning, the students met with instructors Nainoa Thompson, Ka'iulani Murphy and Keoki Ching to learn about various sailing boats and canoes, equipment used on voyages, canoe paddling and water safety "It has been very interesting so far," says Bianca. "We learned about the ocean tides, how to read charts and how to handle emergencies on the ocean.”

Bianca looks forward to the next two years with her classmates at the Ocean Learning Academy. "Everyone is so diverse. We are going to learn from each other how to get along and work together." Although she will miss her friends at Kaiser, along with activities like Homecoming or Prom, Bianca knows that these two years will bring amazing experiences, while preparing her for the future. She hopes to become an ocean environmentalist, working in Hawai'i.

Bianca is surrounded by the support and enthusiasm of her parents, Rudy and Kerina Salazar, and her sisters, Talia and Kassia. "What an unbelievable opportunity for Bianca to take advantage of," says her father, Rudy. "If students can learn about sailing, the environment and the ocean at a young age, they will be able to teach others and continue to perpetuate these things." Bianca's mother, Kerina, recognizes other benefits as well. "The focus is on eam effort, teaching the students to work together." Both are excited for their daughter and for the future of the program.

PVS Strategy for the Future: Looking Forward, Looking Ahead

For an organization to remain strong, it must have a clear vision for its future. For the Polynesian Voyaging Society, it was a clear, shared vision that led to a quarter century of voyaging over nearly 100,000 miles of open ocean to every major point of the Polynesian Triangle. These voyages of exploration and rediscovery on Hokule‘a, a performance accurate replica of an ancient voyaging canoe, have contributed to a cultural renaissance that has spread throughout Hawai'i, the South Pacific and the Western United States, including Alaska. As hundreds of thousands of people shared in the common vision of PVS, the organization has expanded in its voyaging efforts, educational programs and community building initiatives.

With these accomplishments as its foundation, PVS looks to the horizon where there is still much to be learned and shared, where the opportunities are endless. Going forward, PVS remains conumitted to values which transcend political, racial and cultural boundaries: aloha (to love), malama (to care for), 'imi 'ike (to seek knowledge), lokomaika'i (to share with each other), na'au pono (to nurture a deep sense of justice), and olakino maika'i (to live healthily). Grounded by these values, it is the vision of PVS to contribute to the well-being of the people and communities of Hawai'i and beyond, through efforts to Malama Hawai'i - ensure that Hawai'i our special island home, is a place where the land and sea are cared for and people and communities are healthy and safe.

As a part of its strategic plan for the future, the Polynesian Voyaging Society will focus on several core priorities. Through voyaging, PVS will continue its contribution to learning, while honoring heritage, customs, global culture and kinship. "PVS will do what it is uniquely good it - exploration. We must translate the experiences of these voyages into quality educational and leadership development programs to be carried by our institutions, both locally and globally," says Nainoa Thompson, one of the key individuals in the creation and implementation of the strategic plan.

In an effort to promote the message of stewardship and sustainability, while showcasing both cutting edge science and traditional scientific practices, PVS will voyage to the Northwest Hawaiian Islands. "We see the need to voyage in our own backyard - an incredibly unique place on Earth where the fragile ecosystems need to be protected. Through education, we will build awareness and understanding of these needs," says Thompson.

PVS will also continue the Ho'olokahi Sailing Program, which uses the coastal sailing canoe E'ala to teach high school students basic sailing and navigational skills while developing leadership. "Through these educational programs, we will shape the kinds of leaders Hawai'i needs - where there is value-driven leadership and a strong conscience about giving back to community."

Education is another core priority. Working with partner organizations and individuals PVS will translate the value of voyaging into learning experiences that integrate history, culture, science and technology. The hope is to work in collaboration with established educational organizations and systems, to create programs that lead Hawai'i's children to intellectual, emotional, academic and professional growth. PVS will also seek to maintain a sustainable organization whereby PVS is a solid, focused and fiscally sound organization, reflecting its values in the pursuit of its mission.

Message from Executive Director Elisa Yadao

Thanks to all of you who responded to our last newsletter, with your cards, letters and support. We welcome suggestions on what you'd like to see on these pages and your comments about what we do at PVS. We look forward to your feedback.

These continue to be busy times at the Polynesian Voyaging Society, as we open the virtual doors to the Ocean Learning Academy, continue preliminary planning for a voyage to the Northwest Hawaiian Islands and work on our 5 year strategic plan. We're also hard at work on this year's fundraiser "Ho'oilina Mau," or Enduring Legacy. Scheduled for September 15th and 16th, we pay tribute to the great teachers of the Voyaging Society, commemorate the 25th anniversary of Hokule‘a's maiden voyage to Tahiti and bid farewell to outgoing PVS president Myron Pinky Thompson. All of us owe him not only our thanks, but a huge debt of gratitude for his vision, courage and leadership over the years.

On Saturday, September 15th, we will gather for an evening under the stars at Lanikuhonua at the Ko Olina Resort and Marina to honor Pinky for all that he has given to our voyaging community and the community at large.

Sunday, September 16th, we will bring the voyaging canoes to the Ko Olina Marina, Lagoon #4 for a day filled with educational and cultural activities, Hawaiian crafts, ono food and lots of entertainment. Bring your family, and come enjoy a day tocether at the Ko Olina Resort and Marina. This event is free and open to the public, our way of continuing to share the lessons learned in voyaging.

This issue of the newsletter introduces all of you to our new board president, Nainoa Thompson, a familiar face in a new role.

Thank you again for your interest in the Polynesian Voyaging Society and your willingness to uion in our work. I hope we see you at Ko Olina.


Board of Directors

President: Nainoa Thompson

Directors: Kenneth Brown, Dennis Fern, Catherine Fuller, Brickwood Galuteria, Harry Ho, Rey Jonsson, Corbett A.K. Kalama, Lilikala Kame'eleihiwa, Wiliam Ornelles, Barry Raleigh, Randall K. Schmitt, William Tam, Dr. Ben Tamura, Laura Thompson, Michael Tongg, Dr. Nathan Wong, Bob Worthington, August Yee

Consultant: Ben Finney

Executive Director: Elisa Yadao