Capt. Mark Ellis receives a ceremonial cedar rope alongside other captains during a blessing ceremony at the global launch ceremony of the Moananuiākea voyage at the University of Alaska Recreation Center Thursday afternoon. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Capt. Mark Ellis receives a ceremonial cedar rope alongside other captains during a blessing ceremony at the global launch ceremony of the Moananuiākea voyage at the University of Alaska Recreation Center Thursday afternoon. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Juneau leaders bless voyagers at launch ceremony ahead of Hōkūle‘a send-off

“I am grateful for all the love and support the people of Southeast Alaska have done for us”

Though the rain poured outside in typical Juneau fashion and subsequently forced the global launch ceremony of the Moananuiākea voyage indoors, that didn’t stop hundreds of Juneau residents and leaders from gathering to witness the momentous occasion.

Hundreds gather to witness the global launch ceremony of the Moananuiākea voyage at the University of Alaska Recreation Center on Thursday afternoon. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Hundreds gather to witness the global launch ceremony of the Moananuiākea voyage at the University of Alaska Recreation Center on Thursday afternoon. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

On Thursday at the University of Alaska Recreation Center, Juneau leaders, members of the Moananuiākea crew and the Polynesian Voyaging Society shared their well-wishes, blessings and affirmations for the journey during the multi-hour ceremony.

[‘You lift our spirits by coming to our land’: Welcoming ceremony held for Polynesian canoe voyage]

“I am grateful for all the love and support the people of Southeast Alaska have done for us and will do for us — gunalchéesh,” said Mark Ellis, one of the captains for the Hōkūle’a.

A live stream of the event can be found on hokulea.com.

Since arriving in Juneau last Saturday, the double-hulled and wind-powered traditional Polynesian voyaging canoe has been anchored at Statter Harbor in preparation for its 47-month journey ahead.

The voyage is set to launch from Juneau, with the Hōkūle‘a and crew planning to circumnavigate 43,000 nautical miles of the Pacific Ocean.

The launch time and date are still unknown as of Friday morning, with a media update released Wednesday noting that due to the poor weather forecast for Thursday, the “crew is monitoring the weather to determine the best day/time for the canoe to depart Juneau.”

A crowd gathers at the shore of Auke Bay as the Hōkūle‘a, a double-hulled and wind-powered traditional Polynesian voyaging canoe, arrives in Juneau on Saturday afternoon for a welcoming ceremony. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

A crowd gathers at the shore of Auke Bay as the Hōkūle‘a, a double-hulled and wind-powered traditional Polynesian voyaging canoe, arrives in Juneau on Saturday afternoon for a welcoming ceremony. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Friday’s weather forecast calls for rain and wind in Juneau, but clearer weather is forecast for the weekend. Members of the Polynesian Voyaging Society are also scheduled to visit Angoon on Sunday for the launching of the first dugout canoe created there since the U.S. Navy bombardment in 1882, with local students also unveiling their chosen name for the canoe, according to a media advisory.

• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at clarise.larson@juneauempire.com or (651)-528-1807.

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