Hōkūleʻa, the incredible wind-powered circumnavigation conducted by Mission Blue partner Pacific Voyaging Society, has recently reached the shores of South Africa, halfway around the world from her home in Hawaiʻi. On November 10th, the sailing canoe pulled into False Bay, a Mission Blue Hope Spot, after having rounded the southernmost point of Africa. Ranging from Cape Point to Cape Hangklip near Cape Town, South Africa, False Bay is an area of dense kelp forests. Part of the False Bay Hope Spot is reserved as a marine protected area and no take zone, creating a sanctuary for large reef fish, abalone and small sharks. Fishing pressure in unprotected parts of False Bay is significant and pollution is also an issue in the area. Rich in biodiversity, False Bay also supports a vibrant tourism economy with a wealth of cultural and social history.
Nainoa Thompson, Ocean Elder and master navigator aboard Hōkūleʻa said, “We had no reason to go to False Bay, but we made a decision because of the extraordinary work of the many people that are there, that are in this area doing exceptional things to protect the world’s oceans. We aloha our great friend and mentor and teacher and inspiration, Dr. Sylvia A. Earle who has created this as one of the world’s great ocean hope spots.”
Craig Foster, an internationally recognized award winning documentary filmmaker, led the crew through the breathtaking kelp forest, braving bone chilling waters, without wet suits. He has been exploring False Bay nearly every day for years, building an intimate relationship with the place and its inhabitants in one of the most ecologically rich coastlines in the world. Craig believes diving in these waters helps divers get into the mind set of our earliest ancestors and experience what they might have experienced thousands of years ago. Now you can too; check out the video below.
For more photos of the Hōkūleʻa’s arrival in South Africa and the False Bay Hope Spot, click here.