They’re ocean-going vessels steeped in history and from opposite sides of the world, but last week their paths crossed on the freshwater Erie Canal and their missions meshed.
Hawaii’s voyaging canoe Hokulea and a viking ship, the Draken Harald Harfagre.
The sound of Hawaii and Norway met in upstate New York, with the replica viking ship and Hokulea, a replica of a Polynesian voyaging canoe, both keeping their ocean traditions alive, proving their ancestors were skilled sailors who explored vast distances.
“So the mission was to prove that it was possible to go the historic voyage from Norway to Iceland, Iceland to Greenland, Greenland to New Foundland and we did it,” Bjorn Ahlander, captain of the Draken Harald Harfagre.
“Rhere’s been few tests of this type of sailing since they did it 1,000 years ago,” said Kristian Velle, engineer on board the Draken Harald Harfagre. “So I think it is quite important that we try to do this and keep the knowledge of how they did it.”
The Hokulea crew says the meeting is something momentous.
“We are very honored to have you and your crew on board the canoe this is very very special for us. i was hoping we would cross paths,” said Hokulea captain Kalepa Baybayan.
The Draken crew was able to walk the deck of Hokule’a, marveling at the crews small bunks, learning how she sails, her voyage around the world, her stories.
“It’s a little over 40 years old and so we’re on this environmental mission but we want to collect stories of different projects, different communities, videos that lend inspiration to the rest of the planet,” Baybayan added.
Hokulea’s crew also stepped foot on the 6-year-old viking ship, which is twice the size of Hokulea. The crew marveled at the crew’s large bunks, learning how she sails, her voyage to this part of the world, her stories as well.
“A lot of people don’t move far from where they live and i think that’s a pity, because people all over the world are different and we can learn so much from each other so the exploration and the development you go through personally when you go exploring also in modern times is very important,” said Erik Rolfmoller, deckhand for the Draken Harald Harfagre.
The two crews celebrated their meeting by exchanging gifts and making music.