The eager crowd of spectators craned their necks in anticipation as the patrol boat announced the arrival of the Hokule’a and the Alinganu Maiso, the much-awaited traditional boats from Hawaii and on its way to Japan.The backdrop of the Rock Islands provided the perfect setting as graceful swaying of the traditional dancers and spectacular firecrackers lighting up the sky. Sounds from the shell horn and the welcome chant signaled the welcoming warmth of Palau to the crew of the two boats.
As early as 8 o’clock in the morning, people started flocking towards the NECO Marine dock to await the historic arrival of the boats. Cars were jam packed in parking lots, people squeezed themselves to get a clear view of the boats and the crew near the dock of NECO Marine and the surrounding docks in Malakal as well, not minding the long wait. Traffic began to build up in the highway as cars stopped by to catch a glimpse of the boats which has been gaining popularity in media mileage through television shows, radio program and newspapers for the past months. The significance of this voyage is to emphasize that the ancestors used to travel on long voyages using canoes and traditional navigational tools like stars, moon and sea current. Records show that the voyage is to honor Mau Pialug, the greatest tradition voyager of Yap State who is now in his old age.
Palau government has plenty of activities lined up to keep the crew of the boats occupied, see a bit of the island and interact with the locals. Hokule’a and Alingano Maisu left Hawaii on January 11, stopping by other countries in Micronesia like Marshall Islands, FSM, Yap, and Palau before heading towards Japan, its final destination.
For more information on the Hokule’a 2007 voyage, please visit http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/specials/hokulea07/.