He’s Sailing the World Using Just the Wind, Stars, and Waves

More than 40 years ago, Nainoa Thompson joined a movement of young Hawaiians interested in reviving the traditional art of Polynesian navigation known as wayfinding. They learned to sail across open waters using just the wind, sky and waves as their guide, voyaging without modern navigation tools.

Since then, Thompson has honed his craft navigating Hōkūleʻa, a traditional Polynesian double-hulled voyaging canoe. Today, Hōkūleʻa is sailing the world to spread the message that we must live sustainably and protect our earth. Over three years, the crew will travel thousands of nautical miles years to connect with communities across the world.

The canoe is navigating open waters, often in some of the most dangerous and challenging passages on Earth. On board is a team of young apprentices, who are learning the art of wayfinding. Thompson aims to equip this new generation to become the navigators of the future as well as stewards of the planet.

Congratulations to Nainoa Thompson, recipient of the 2016 Hubbard Medal, National Geographic’s highest honor.