(July 3, 2013) – Ocean Vodka is now farming more than just our organic sugar cane- we are thrilled to be nurturing some very special Hawaiian sweet potatoes in our luscious organic soil! What makes these sweet potatoes so special? In about 8 months, they will be harvested to be taken on the voyaging canoe Hōkūle‘a as it departs in the Spring of 2014 on its four-year voyage around the world. The Hōkūle‘a is unique in that it operates using traditional Polynesian navigation techniques, without modern navigational instruments (translated: with sails and by the stars and elements).
We were thrilled to host members of the crew of the Hōkūle‘a on one of their “Learning Voyages” as they visited our farm to learn about sustainable and organic farming and planted these special potatoes. The crop will be used not only as food but also in research on hydroponic farming and other methods of continuous on-vessel farming that could support the crew as they embark on their adventure. The crew was led by Kaiulani Murphy, head navigator and Kealoha Hoe, leader. The crew’s Learning Voyages are aimed to gather research that they can take and share around the world, and that is one of the goals of the voyage around the world. They are interested in lessons of sustainability and the value of resources as they visit different cultures and have the opportunity to share. It is their goal to be good stewards in every phase of the journey, practicing with humbleness and an honor for the right to travel, be listeners and be vessels of information.
The variety of sweet potatoes is “piko” which translates to the center. We asked Kealoha Hoe what does piko the word the plant or the hui mean to you? “Piko is the starting point where we thrive. It is at this core spot that one is re-energized so that you can then go out into the world and offer your gifts. The potatoes and other sources of food serve as physical and spiritual nourishment on our journey, a tie to the Gods that incorporates mana and spirit.”
Hōkūle‘a and her sister voyaging canoe Hikianalia are sailing on the Mālama Hawai‘i leg of Mālama Honua, the Worldwide Voyage (WWV) sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines. From May-October 2013, the two wa‘a kaulua will sail 1,000-miles statewide, with stops at 30 ports, before departing for Tahiti in May 2014.
Hōkūleʻa is a performance-accurate full-scale replica of a waʻa kaulua, a Polynesian double-hulled voyaging canoe. Launched on 8 March 1975 by the Polynesian Voyaging Society, she is best known for her 1976 Hawaiʻi to Tahiti voyage performed with Polynesian navigation techniques, without modern navigational instruments.
The primary goal of the voyage was to further support the anthropological theory of the Asiatic origin of native Oceanic people, of Polynesians and Hawaiians in particular, as the result of purposeful trips through the Pacific, as opposed to passive drifting on currents, or sailing from the Americas.
Since the 1976 voyage to Tahiti and back, Hōkūle‘a has completed nine voyages to Micronesia, Polynesia, Japan, Canada, and the United States, all using ancient wayfinding techniques of celestial navigation. Her last completed voyage began 19 January 2007, when Hōkūle‘a left Hawaiʻi with the voyaging canoe Alingano Maisu on a voyage through Micronesia and ports in southern Japan.
The voyage was expected to take five months. On 9 June 2007, Hōkūle‘a completed the “One Ocean, One People” voyage to Yokohama, Japan. On April 5, 2009, Hōkūle‘a returned to Honolulu following a roundtrip training sail to Palmyra Atoll, undertaken to develop skills of potential crewmembers for Hōkūle‘a’s eventual circumnavigation of the earth, currently planned to commence in 2013.
When not on a voyage, Hōkūle‘a is moored at the Marine Education Training Center (METC) of Honolulu Community College in Honolulu Harbor.