HONOLULU (KHON2) — After confirming that all crew members have been tested for COVID-19, the Hokulea and Hikianalia voyaging canoes set sail for Hilo on Monday, April 11 at around 11:25 a.m., before making their long journey to Tahiti.

Just minutes before both Hokulea and Hikianalia voyaging canoes were expected to depart for Tahiti, the Polynesian Voyaging Society decided to delay sail until all crew members get tested for COVID-19 with negative test results.

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Both canoes were supposed to set sail on Monday, April 11, at 7:30 a.m., and are scheduled to travel to Hilo, Hawaii first before making the long journey to Tahiti.

According to Nainoa Thompson, captain and navigator, a crewmember was on a training sail on Thursday, April 7, and recently tested positive for COVID. That crewmember did not have any symptoms during that training.

“That person was on Hikianalia, so we know there was some exposure there. Then, she took a test last night, and it was found positive today. Our highest value is health, so we are taking all the procedures and process we need to make sure this trip to Hilo — the crew is clear.”

Capt. Nainoa Thompson

Thompson noted that for anyone who is sick on the trip from Hilo to Tahiti, the voyage would be over, and the crew will return to Honolulu.

“They will be tested PCR tested in Hilo before departure,” Thompson said.

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Around 9:30 a.m., KHON2 News was informed that both voyager canoes will set sail at 11:25 a.m.