By Jeff Yamauchi
Ka Lā staff writer
It was a brisk breezy morning for the welcoming ceremony representing all the Pacific Island nations when a lone canoe paddled to shore at Duke Kahanamoku Beach, accompanied by welcoming chanters. Due to rough waters and weather, the flotilla of canoes did not make its way this day. Nainoa Thompson, master navigator for the Polynesian Voyaging Society, in his speech said two things he has learned celestial sailing on Hōkūle‘a: respect and safety. Though it was a tough decision to make, he respected the decisions of the committee captains and the immense power of the sea. Nainoa also did not want to endanger the crew and guests. He further said global climate change has impacted all islands hardest by increases and severity of hurricanes, coral bleaching, and unprecedented rising of sea level to name a few. Without protecting the oceans, humanity will not soon survive. All of humanity must immediately work together to curtail global crisis.
During the welcoming vaka ceremony, a white fairy tern flew overhead the gathering. One of the speakers mentioned that he saw certain star off in the horizon. Both signs portend for a successful and rewarding IUCN World Conservation Congress.
For a clip of this morning vaka arrival ceremony go to: https://www.instagram.com/p/BJ0fF99j2HN/?taken-by=tenkai808mtnhome&hl=en
For more information on Polynesian Voyaging Society/IUCN events go to: http://www.hokulea.com/polynesian-voyaging-society-hopes-inspire-action-iucn/