MOUNT DESERT, Maine — A local boatyard is expected to get an unlikely visitor in a little more than a week.

Hokulea, a traditional Polynesian voyaging canoe on a global expedition from its native port in Hawaii, is expected to tie up at the John Williams Boat Company in Hall Quarry on Saturday, July 23, morning and remain there until Wednesday, July 27.

The 62-foot-long vessel, which to Mainers resembles a sailing catamaran more than a canoe, is on a journey expected to cover 60,000 nautical miles while visiting 100 ports and 27 countries. The goal of the voyage is to circumnavigate the globe without the use of modern instruments, using only the stars for direction and the wind and waves to move the vessel from one destination to the next, according to the project’s website.

The Hokulea has been traveling up the East Coast since March and, after its stop at Mount Desert Island, is expected to turn back south to the Panama Canal for its final leg back to Hawaii. Having left Hawaii in 2014, the vessel is expected to arrive back home in the summer of 2017.

The purpose of the project is to promote “sustainability and environmental consciousness” and to serve as a cultural exchange between traditional Hawaiian culture and those of the countries where the canoe stops in port, according to a press release about its upcoming visit to MDI.

As part of its New England leg, the Hokulea is honoring Native American tribes. Representatives from Maine’s Indian tribes are expected to be on hand to greet the ocean-going canoe when it sails into Somes Sound.

The public will have the opportunity to view and learn more about the Hokulea during its visit, with the following schedule:

Saturday, July 23

— 9 a.m.: Wabanaki and the MDI community will gather for a public arrival ceremony to welcome Hokulea at John Williams Boat Company.

— Noon-4 p.m.: Public engagement and canoe tours to follow ceremony and exchange

Sunday, July 24

— 6 p.m.: Crew presentation at John Williams Boat Company (open to the public)

Tuesday, July 26

— 10 a.m.-3:15 p.m.: Youth groups visit canoe (by appointment)

— 4-5 p.m.: Crew presentation in community gallery at Abbe Museum, 26 Mount Desert St., Bar Harbor (open to the public).

Youth groups are invited to visit Hokulea on Tuesday, July 26. Group size is limited to 50 youths, and reservations are required for time blocks throughout the day. To inquire about reservations, call Debra Deal at Camp Beechcliff at 244-0365 or email

Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....