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Itoman hosts Hawaiian boat visit on its Pacific voyage

Date Posted: 2007-05-02

A replica of an ancient Hawaiian canoe, the Hokule’a after a weeklong visit to Okinawa.

The small sailing ship, only 40’ long and 10’ wide, is making a three-month voyage through Micronesia and Japan under a “One Ocean, One People” celebration of Pacific voyaging, cultures and islands sponsored by the Polynesian Voyaging Society. The vessel tied up in Itoman City April 24th after visiting Yap Island, and spent five days mingling with the local citizens. The canoe is now enroute to mainland Japan, and should arrive tomorrow at Kamamoto.

The Hokule’a also visited Ginowan City Marina before leaving Okinawa waters. Three Japanese are part of the 11-member crew. Takuji Araki, 32, is a marine sportsman who’s been sailing with the group for a while. “I found my roots a long time ago,” he says, “and I’m trying to make new goals in my own way by sailing with the Hokule’a.” He’s a world champion in life saving, and moved to Itoman City in 2004.

Araki teamed with the Hokule’a nine years ago after meeting the ship’s captain during a race. He’s traveled a lot, but now says “I feel my hometown is here in Okinawa.”

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