Former President Bill Clinton is in the islands.

He spent part of this afternoon with Hawaii’s legendary voyaging canoe Hokulea, and had a lot of questions.

Clinton visited Hokulea with former Governor John Waihee, Polynesian Voyaging Society Staff, and captain and navigator Nainoa Thompson.

“It was a real honor and pleasure to have him. It’s the first time I met him. Very smart, intelligent, asked good questions, very curious,” Thompson said.

Hokulea is in dry dock at its homeport of HCC’s Marine Education Training Center at Sand Island getting prepped for her statewide sail starting next month.

“The meeting was brief and it wasn’t. It was probably an hour and a half. Did a lot of walking and talking,” Thompson said. “One of the focuses was just how did they discover Polynesia, and how did they navigate, and how did they voyage, and what was it like for the first peoples.”

They watched some of KHON2’s coverage of Hokulea’s triumphant homecoming last month from a three year journey around the world.

Clinton asked about the voyage, and they talked about the state of the earth.

“We found common ground in that area of Malama Honua,” Thompson said. “You know, he has many initiatives he’s working on. Many the same as what we’re working on here in Hawaii. Issues of climate change, protection of wildlife, natural environment, and resources.”

Thompson said this meeting could have any lasting impact, and the younger generation holds the key.

“And it was good to have our young people next to him because I think that’s what the relationship is… the future is really with them and his great work across the planet and the hope that something will come of this initial kind of simple visit.”

Clinton came to Hawaii for a private event yesterday.

His wife, former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton did not make this trip .