JULY 10, 1985


Born in Honolulu, Charles Nanoia Thompson, a descendant of Kamehameha I’s harbor pilots, graduated from Punahao School and was working odd jobs when he saw the first designs for the Hōkūleʻa–a performance-accurate waʻa kaulua (traditional Polynesian double-hulled voyaging canoe). Having taken up paddling, Nanoia went on her maiden voyage in 1976, and served on the crew on the return leg. Thompson became Navigator of the Hōkūleʻa in 1977 and did his first solo voyage (Hawaii to Tahiti) in 1980. To further revive Polynesian culture through the Hōkūleʻa, Thompson led the Voyage of Rediscovery—a 2-year voyage in which Hōkūleʻa logged 12,000 miles throughout Polynesia, inviting fellow Polynesians to crew on voyage legs (11 in all). A Tongan sea captain, aboard as Thompson navigated from Tongatapu to Nomuka without instruments on a night passage, said “Now I can believe the stories of my ancestors.” 

 “Nanoia Thompson,” Hawaiian Voyaging Traditions.  Retrieved 8/7/2022, Nainoa Thompson (hokulea.com)
Photo:  Layne Luna, 2003 (cropped).  Permissive Use

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