Hawaii News

Hōkūle‘a receives spirited welcome in San Francisco

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Hōkūleʻa sails under the Golden Gate Bridge and into San Francisco Bay. Photo Courtesy: Meg McDaniel

Hawaiʻi’s voyaging canoe Hōkūleʻa sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge and into San Francisco Bay on Sunday morning before making a grand entrance into Aquatic Bay Cove at approximately 12:15 p.m., escorted by the Coast Guard and dozens of outrigger canoes.

The canoe and crew were greeted by an impressive fireboat water display and a roaring crowd of more than 3,000 excited to welcome them to the Bay Area.

Joining the crew on board was a member of the Coast Miwok Tribe of what is now known as Marin and southern Sonoma counties, as well as renowned oceanographer, National Geographic Explorer in Residence and Founder of Mission Blue, Sylvia Earle. Members of the Ramaytush Ohlone tribe of the San Francisco area stood on the beach and granted permission for the crew to make their landing and go ashore.


Once the canoe was moored, the outrigger canoes formed a circle around Hōkūleʻa for a moment of reflection for Maui. Crew members then boarded the outrigger canoes, which shuttled them to shore to begin an exchange of cultural protocols with the Ramaytush Ohlone tribe. Both groups then proceeded to a stage for a welcome ceremony that included remarks by Gregg Castro representing the Ramaytush Ohlone tribe; Darlene Plumtree, CEO of the San Francisco Maritime National Park Association; and Aaron Peskin, president of the Board of Supervisors of San Francisco.

On behalf of the City and County of San Francisco, Peskin thanked the crew for spreading a message of hope around the world. Although California Governor Gavin Newsom was unable to attend, he sent an official proclamation, which was read at the event.

After the dignitary welcomes and declaration reading, Polynesian Voyaging Society CEO and Pwo Navigator Nainoa Thompson addressed the audience with a message of urgency about protecting the earth’s oceans.


“I donʻt believe there will ever be any healthy living system on the earth if the oceans are not healthy,” he said.

The welcome ceremony concluded with a “Blue Unity Pledge For The Ocean” signed by Thompson, Earle and Castro, announcing a commitment “to work together to safeguard the ocean and to protect our children’s future.”

The afternoon also featured tributes and performances by Bay Area hula halau and performers.


This is Hōkūleʻaʻs second visit to the Bay Area. The canoe sailed down the west coast to San Francisco 28 years ago, as part of the 1995 voyage “Na ʻOhana Holo Moana: The Voyaging Families of the Vast Ocean.”

This stop in San Francisco is part of the Moananuiākea Voyage, a circumnavigation of the Pacific that will cover an estimated 43,000 nautical miles, 36 countries and archipelagoes, nearly 100 indigenous territories and more than 300 ports. Led by the Polynesian Voyaging Society, the Voyage is a global educational campaign that will amplify the vital importance of oceans and indigenous knowledge through port engagements, education and storytelling.

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