“He waʻa he moku, he moku he waʻa,” is a Hawaiian proverb, meaning, “The canoe is an island, the island is a canoe.”
Centuries ago, Polynesian voyaging canoes were tools for survival, enabling islanders to find food and settle new lands. Life on the canoe was a microcosm of life on land. Everyone needed to care for one another and for the canoe in order to survive. The clearest modern-day expression of this truth is the Hawaiian double-hulled sailing canoe, Hōkūleʻa.
In May 2014, Hōkūle‘a began its sail around the globe to Mālama Honua, Care for the Earth. Along with photographer John Bilderback, I documented the voyage, meeting up with the canoe and the crew in ports to connect with local environmentalists and indigenous people to learn the many ways people caring for our oceans and earth. Below are excerpts from the book published by Patagonia in 2017.