Waka embarks on 12,000 km journey across Pacific

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

A new vessel was launched this week that will sail across the Pacific to Tāhiti, Hawai'i and the Marshall Islands where it will be gifted to the people there for educational, research and commercial purposes.

A voyage of over 12 thousand kilometres across the open ocean. A new vessel, Okeanos Marshall, is heading to Tahiti to join Hōkūle'a who has been voyaging the ocean for three years on The Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage.

Rusty Oppenheimer is a traditional double-hull canoe voyager from Hawai'i. He says, “Us and the Polynesians down here we're a really close family so they called us up and they asked for someone from Hawai'i to come sailing with them. The people of Hawai'i will be very happy to see multiple canoes bringing Hōkūle'a and Hikianalea back home, together.”

The crew will first sail to Tāhiti to meet with the Hawaiian flotilla and accompany them home to Hawai'i before sailing onto the Marshall Islands.

Captain of Okeanos Marshall, Peia Patai says, “We got one from Tāhiti, one from England, one from Fiji, one from Hawai'i, and myself from Rarotonga, and a Kiwi girl that's sailing with us so it's a very good mix.”

Jodi Goodwin is new to sailing traditional double-hull canoes but she is looking forward to it. She says, “We're going to be sailing to Tāhiti, yes, and then on to Hawai'i, and then we'll be delivering her to the Marshall Islands."

The vessel will be delivered to the Marshall Islands to be utilised by the people there for a number of opportunities. Goodwin says, “Gifting her to the people of the Marshall Islands, to use her for different purposes, for transporting, for education purposes, for research purposes, there are many different things."

Next month will bring the launch of a new vessel that will be delivered to the Mariana Islands.