HONOLULU (KHON2) — Monday June 20 is observed as the Summer Solstice, meaning it’s the moment when the Sun is farthest north in the Northern Hemisphere.

The Summer Solstice signifies the start to summer which falls on June 21. During summer you can get used to longer days, shorter nights and warmer weather. 

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Lehua Kamalu with the Polynesian Voyaging Society said the Summer and Winter Solstice impacts the way they navigate from island to island. 

“The sun is probably one of the most critical navigational elements,” said Kamalu. “I feel like usually the stars get all the attention and the glamour of the whole process. But you know, our closest star, the sun is definitely visible every day of the year.”

She said during the daytime while on their long voyage they are very aware of the position of the sun. It guides them safely to their destination and during the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere they get more daylight helping them get to their destination.

Kamalu said they just returned from Tahiti which is in the Southern Hemisphere. She said because of the island’s location they experienced both solstices–summer and winter.

“When we left, we were actually getting much longer nights and shorter days,” said Kamalu. “Then Hawaii is much closer to the summer Northern Hemisphere, and we are getting much longer days and shorter nights.”

She said during their most recent voyage they had to rely heavily on the sun and some non-star features happening around them. 

“A lot of the wind and the waves and so year, but the solstice is one of the most noticeable features for sure and it’s so strong it can shine through clouds and it has its amazing ability to set up shadows and all kinds of great shape where you can actually use so many different parts to navigate,” said Kamalu.


She said the sun can give great direction when it comes to navigation and the best part is you don’t even need a book to learn. All you need to do is look up. 

“You can actually create a little compass if you want to in your yard,” said Kamalu. “You’ll need to track where the sun is rising, where it is when it is reaching its top point and where it goes down again.”

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Kamalu said one of her favorite things about the Summer Solstice is having more time to dry your clothes outside.