Diving Into It
The Governor was invited to greet the Oceans 17 convention in Anchorage, but the Lieutenant Governor showed up and quickly handed the podium over to a Hawaiian I know from years ago and it turns out Byron Mallott knows him too, and figured he was a good person to give a speech to an international gathering of ocean technology people.
I first saw Nainola Thomson jumping off the Hokulea at Kualoa Beach Park in February 2000, as the traditional double hulled canoe returned from a voyage to Easter Island and Tahiti. I was a little surprised to see that the hull was made of plastic. Thompson was the traditional navigator for that trip, and as I recall he had the coolest tattoo, which I instantly wanted – a line right down the side of his body, from his armpit to his ankle.
So here he was talking to ocean technology people about how when they decided to try to build a second canoe they couldn’t find the right wood. But there was a tale from the days of George Vancouver of a really huge dugout canoe that was made from a special driftwood tree that had come to Hawaii from the north, and this sent Thompson on a journey to Alaska, where he met Byron Mallott, who made sure that the Sealaska Native Corporation donated giant Sitka Spruce logs to the Polynesian Voyaging Society to build the vessel Hikianalia.
And the two vessels had now navigated around the world, and were thinking about a new voyage to circumnavigate the Pacific, beginning in Alaska.
They knew it would be dangerous to try to sail around the world using only traditional navigation. There were pirates, storms, all sorts of dangers. But they also saw that the “world ocean itself” was at risk. “We started to listen to the science” in 2008, Thompson said, “and we asked ourselves, it is more dangerous to leave the boat at the dock?”
So I don’t know what’s going to come of all this, but it was the keynote speech to begin the conference today.