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Kaua‘i Ocean Discovery reopens Saturday at Kukui Grove Center

LIHU‘E — The Polynesian Voyaging Society’s sailing canoe Hokule‘a and its companion canoe Hikianalia are on their way to Tahiti.

Kaua‘i Ocean Discovery on-site manager Jean Souza invites the community to visit the ocean center at Kukui Grove Center this Saturday and Sunday to learn more about the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s canoes by engaging in a free, featured activity creating wooden models of the voyaging canoe Hokule‘a and learning how Polynesian voyagers used stars, ocean currents, wind and other elements to navigate.

Longtime maritime educator and Puhi resident Steve Soltysik, who had served onboard several craft escorting Hokule‘a, will provide all of the materials for the wooden canoe creations at no cost to the public.

Additionally, a large star compass will be used to explain Polynesian wayfinding, and a 20-foot waterway will be used to demonstrate how currents and waves affect the models.

All of the canoe work stations and the water trough will be situated outside the Kaua‘i Ocean Discovery where social distancing can be observed at the site that will celebrate its reopening to the public from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

There is no fee to participate in the sailing canoe adventure, and participants are reminded that the experience takes about an hour to complete.

Kaua‘i Ocean Discovery opened in January 2020 through the collaborative efforts of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, state of Hawai‘i and KGC.

Three months following opening its doors, the COVID-19 pandemic made its appearance in Hawai‘i, and globally, effectively shutting the place.

“We only recently received approval to open on a limited scale,” Souza said following the two-year closure.

Kaua‘i Ocean Discovery will be available on an interim schedule that includes Wednesday and Friday from 2 to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“We have tailored our hours to be accessible to students, especially after school on Wednesdays and Fridays,” Souza said. “I believe families will appreciate the mid-day hours on the weekends when the Kukui Grove Center is the busiest.”

Kaua‘i Ocean Discovery continues to be an admission-free learning facility that shares the traditions and knowledge of ocean connections and inspires stewardship.

“The key to this are the volunteers who serve as greeters in the Kaua‘i Ocean Discovery,” Souza said. “We are looking for more volunteers. As the number of volunteers increase, we might be able to keep the center open longer.”

Those wishing to volunteer can contact Souza at 808-651-1457 or jean.souza@noaa.gov to get more information or register.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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