NAINOA THOMPSON, Pres, Polynesian Voyaging Society, Master Navigator, Hokule’a

Who is your Hero? In 2014, the Polynesian Voyaging Society and the 62’ double-hulled voyaging canoe, Hōkūle‘a, embarked on a voyage around the world. Led by Nainoa Thompson, Master Navigator, the 47,000 mile, 36 month voyage will visit 24 countries and 68 planned landfalls, crewed by 300 individual sailors on 25 individual legs. Founded on a legacy of Pacific Ocean exploration, they seek to reclaim the art, science and exploration of non-instrument navigation. Track their journey and message of unity and environmental stewardship online at 35 years ago Nainoa navigated the Hokule’a from Hawaii to Tahiti by wayfinding, followed by six other major voyages. Wayfinding, the ancient Polynesian navigation, taught to Nainoa by Mau Piailug, a navigator from a small island called Satawal, in Micronesia, uses the sun, stars, currents, ocean swells, seabirds, clouds, colors and windshifts to navigate. Thompson became the first Hawaiian and Polynesian since the 14th century to practice the art of Wayfinding on long-distance ocean voyages, and is one of five Master Navigators bringing Wayfinding back from the brink, and keeping the tradition alive by training the next generation. He is the recipient of numerous community awards, including the Unsung Hero of Compassion, awarded to him in 2001 by His Holiness XIV Dalai Lama on behalf of the organization Wisdom in Action; and the Native Hawaiian Education Associations Manomano Ka ‘Ike (Depth and Breadth of Knowledge) Educator of the Year Award. He currently serves as a member of the Ocean Elders and leads Hokule’a’s voyage. The undertaking is so vast, the Polynesian Voyaging Society has partnered with the University of Hawaii to develop classroom curriculums tied to voyaging dynamics of mathematics, science, geography, language arts, world history, meteorology, technology and environmental and cultural sustainability. They will share details of their journey with thousands of students using an unprecedented technological setup, via its escort vessel, Hikianalia, which was donated by Dieter Paulmann, of Okianos Foundation for the Sea, a 2013 YachtWorld Hero Finalist. Join the Education Voyage: This video helps explain: How has your Nominees efforts made a difference for the better? When Nainoa traveled to Polynesia 40 years ago seeking one of the last Polynesian Master Navigators to share and trust their soon-to-be-lost secrets with someone outside of their culture, Wayfaring was on the brink of disappearing. Over the last 40 years, he has practiced and refined Wayfaring – navigation without instrumentation – and is training many navigator students to carry on the science and tradition. He is a modern day explorer, adventurer, navigator, historian, and teacher. How will being recognized as a YachtWorld Hero further your nominee’s cause? Nainoa Thompson and the Polynesian Voyaging Society has received significant coverage, in Hawaii particularly, but most boaters have never heard their story. Knowing about them at the beginning of their journey allows us to follow their exploration and adventures for the next three years. The stories of Wayfaring are of international importance, as are their prayers for environmental stewardship in the face of vanishing resources, rising seas and changed climates. Sharing their stories with the recreational boating industry may resurrect Wayfaring in other parts of the world, while raising awareness of our ocean health. Please share any website or online articles about your nominee’s activities. Track the journey: Join the Education Voyage: View the epic journey at http://The Epic Journey of the Hokule\’a Nainoa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, and Master Navigator of the Hokule’a, was co-nominated by Curly Carswell of Princeville, Hawaii, and by Dr. Sylvia Earle, of Sea-Mission Blue, and past YachtWorld Hero, in the category of Ocean Defender. Photo Credit: Monte Costa

Leave A Comment