Polynesian Canoe Arrives Sunday for Two-Week Visit to Yorktown

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The Hokele'a will dock in Yorktown Sunday and stay for two weeks. (Courtesy York County)
The Hokele’a will dock in Yorktown Sunday and stay for two weeks. (Courtesy York County)

A Polynesian voyaging canoe will be making a stop in Yorktown on Sunday while in the midst of its journey around the globe.

The Hokule’a, which means “Star of Gladness” in Hawaiian, was built by the Polynesian Voyaging Society in the 1970s and is now on a mission to circumnavigate the globe.

The canoe was designed and is being sailed using skills that have nearly gone extinct, according to a recent news release from York County.

It is that same type of endangered indigenous knowledge that the Hokule’a is in search of during its trip around the world. The ship’s crew will be seeking out the wisdom of indigenous people that may apply to global concerns or be useful in an international context.

Yorktown will be welcoming the Hokule’a on Sunday with a traditional welcoming ceremony led by Virginia Indian tribes followed by an afternoon celebration and tours of the canoe.

Event planners anticipate the Hokule’a will approach Yorktown around 10:30 a.m. Around noon, native tribes will begin welcoming the canoe with a water song, canoe dance and exchange of gifts.

Want to Go?

The Hokule’a will approach Yorktown at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, and the free welcoming ceremony and tours begin at noon.

The Hokule’a will be docked at Riverwalk Landing through Sunday, May 8.

From 2 to 5 p.m. that day, the public will be able to tour the canoe and meet the crew members, but interested parties who are unable to make it out to see the ship that day will have several more opportunities during the canoe’s two-week stay.

The Hokule’a will remain docked at Yorktown through May 8, and during that time several community initiatives and programs surrounding the canoe will take place.

On May 1, York County will host a community outreach and education day at Riverwalk Landing that will include dockside information stations dealing with various navigation and science topics, in addition to more canoe tours.

The Yorktown Sailing Charters will host a Science under Sails event from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 4. A crew member of the Hokule’a will share information about how “everyone can be the navigator of our island Earth,” according to the news release, and a VIMS scientist will help broaden the discussion of ocean sustainability.

Click here for more information and tickets to this event.

There will also be two additional days for public tours: 1 to 4 p.m. April 28 and 3 to 6 p.m. May 6.

Tours of the canoe are free and will be available on the green area adjacent to the Riverwalk Landing piers. Tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. The schedule is subject to change due to weather and safety conditions.

Click here for more information.