Tour The Hōkūleʻa Like A VIP

Bill Clinton, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and countless world dignitaries have enjoyed private tours of the Hōkūleʻa. You can get similar VIP treatment during the canoe’s stay at Ko Olina Marina, January 21 – February 3.

We snuck away on a weekday afternoon to visit when it was at Ko Olina last week. No 40-minute waits. No jostling for space on a packed deck. Just a laid-back conversation with crew member Malia Morales.

We asked Malia questions from the personal ( “how did you get to do this?”) to the mundane (“where do you sleep?”). She let us move the sweep-the massive paddle that keeps the Hōkūleʻa on course. She even agreed to take our picture.

The folks at Ko Olina have done a terrific job of making the tour accessible to
the community. Parking—usually $10—is free with validation.

The Hōkūleʻa docked at Ko Olina Marina

Once you park, walk down to the marina. Hōkūleʻa staff folks sit at a table near the boardwalk. They’ll give you a waiver to sign, a bright yellow Hōkūleʻa paper wristband, and that all-important parking validation.

Then they’ll buzz you through the locked marina gate. A crew member helps you clamber onto the canoe via a small stepladder.

Once aboard, you can roam at will. We positioned ourselves near Malia and peppered her with the aforementioned questions.

Two other crew members were onboard too, sharing stories of the more harrowing events on the worldwide sail. (I don’t want to give too much away but be sure you ask what happened when the canoe rounded the Cape of Good Hope!)

The Hōkūleʻa arrived for its second stay at Ko Olina on Sunday, January 21, along with its sister ship, the Hikianalia. Folks can tour both canoes over the next two weeks. The schedule is as follows:

  • Monday, January 22, 3pm-5pm
  • Tuesday, January 23, 3pm-5pm
  • Wednesday, January 24, 3pm-5pm
  • Thursday, January 25, 3pm-5pm
  • Friday, January 26, 3pm-5pm
  • Saturday, January 27, 10am-4pm
  • Sunday, January 28, 10am-4pm
  • Monday, January 29, 3pm-5pm
  • Tuesday, January 30, 3pm-5pm
  • Wednesday, January 31, 3pm-5pm
  • Thursday, February 1, 3pm-5pm
  • Friday, February 2, 3pm-5pm
  • Saturday, February 3, 9am-noon

I’d recommend going on the weekdays if you can.

But wait, there’s more!

On January 28th at 4pm, Hōkūleʻa navigator Nainoa Thompson and other members of the crew will speak at an event hosted by the Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina. The all-ages event is free (although the Four Seasons, as host, politely suggests that attendees make a $25 donation) and parking will be validated. You do have to pre-register for the event, you can do that here.

Later than night, at 8 pm, folks who attended the talk can join Hōkūleʻa crew members at Stars Above Hawai’i, the stargazing event at the Ocean Lawn at the Four Seasons. The crew members will share the star voyaging wayfinding techniques that took them around the world.

I’m going—am excited to hear from the man who came up with the idea for the worldwide voyage and hear more from the people who made it possible.