LOS ANGELES • A traditional double-hulled canoe has returned to Hawaii after concluding a three-year epic journey around the globe, the first trip of its kind by such a boat.
The Hokule'a vessel and its crew entered the marina at Honolulu's Magic Island peninsula last Saturday after sailing more than 40,000 nautical miles to 19 countries since its departure from the island of Oahu in 2014.
Large crowds gathered for the homecoming celebration to commemorate the end of the odyssey, which intended to "weave a lei of hope around the world through sharing indigenous wisdom, groundbreaking conservation and preservation initiatives", according to voyage organisers.
The goal was to use only ancient methods of wayfinding - reading the stars, winds and waves - to guide the journey, just as the first Polynesian settlers who reached the archipelago did hundreds of years ago.
The Hokule'a - the Hawaiian name for "star of gladness" - was the first traditional double-hulled Polynesian voyaging canoe built in 600 years, according to the Polynesian Voyaging Society.
The canoe's maiden voyage in 1976 was to Tahiti in French Polynesia.
Crews of some dozen people rotated at major ports of call throughout the round-the-world journey after undergoing training.
The homecoming celebration kicked off a three-day summit to celebrate the journey and discuss future sailing plans.
Voyage organisers said: "Through her voyages, Hokule'a has sparked a reawakening of Hawaiian culture, language, identity and revitalised voyaging and navigation traditions throughout the Pacific Ocean."