Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam - "Hokule'a: Her Farthest Journey," a documentary about the Polynesian Voyaging Society's Worldwide Voyage now underway, airs for the first time tonight and again Saturday, June 29 on local TV in Hawaii.
The documentary includes an interview with Rear Adm. Frank Ponds, commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, who was asked on the eve of the voyage for his perspective and advice to PVS on behalf of the Navy.
Ponds said through awareness, training and safety measures the group can be best prepared to meet challenges on the seas and in the littorals. Those challenges include typhoons, rogue waves and piracy during the 46,000 mile, 3-year journey to 21 countries with 65 planned landfalls.
"We were honored to be asked to give advice to our friends at Polynesian Voyaging Society as they prepared to begin a worldwide voyage of their traditional voyaging canoes Hokule'a and Hikianalia," Ponds said, noting the Navy's role directly and indirectly.
"These brave men and women are able to conduct their worldwide voyage over the next several years in large part because of the freedom of the seas the Navy helps ensure."
In recent years Sailors from Commander, Destroyer Squadron 31 volunteered in community relations projects, helping to sand canoes with the society. Earlier this year Sailors from Afloat Training Group Middle Pacific and USS Chafee (DDG 90) provided Search and Rescue training to PVS mariners at the joint base's Scott Pool.
"One of the roles on the canoes is having a rescue swimmer in case someone was to go overboard," said Polynesian Voyaging Society student Lehua Kamalu of Pauoa, Hawaii while attending the training. "The Navy swimmers are really good at what they do as far as water safety is concerned; they have the training and expertise we need to learn for this voyage."
According to PVS, the Worldwide Voyage is being conducted to promote education, the environment and sustainable energy as well as ensure continuity with the next generation.
Ponds said, "We share many of the same values ... protection of the environment; promotion of STEM -- science, technology, engineering and mathematics; preservation of culture and diversity; and promotion of sustainability and renewable energy."
PVS President Nainoa Thompson said, "The reason we go around the Earth is to connect with it, and be with it, and learn from it about the diversity of culture and the special places around the planet."
Ponds received a note of thanks from the society for his participation in the documentary. Sent by PVS leadership, the note reads, "You have helped to shape this story, for which we are very grateful ... Mahalo nui for being such an integral part of our Ohana (family)."
The interview with Ponds was conducted here May 23 with USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) in port as a backdrop, just before Pearl Harbor departed to lead Pacific Partnership, the largest disaster-response preparation mission in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. PP13 is being conducted in some of the same waters in which PVS voyagers will sail.
The hour-long PVS documentary "Hokule'a: Her Farthest Journey" airs tonight at 9 p.m. and Saturday, June 29 at 7 p.m. simultaneously on KHON2 and Hawaii's CW.