The Hokule'a is barely recognizable with its mast and rig down and much less when it's sealed up. A pest control company wrapped the majestic and legendary ship wand in a red and black tenting Thursday.
Fumigation quickly became part of the preparation for its voyage when some ants tried to stow away on the canoe.
Crews from the Polynesian Voyaging Society believe the pests probably came aboard during dry dock. It's not an infestation, but still an invasive species. In the spirit of the voyage Malama Hawaii – to care for this earth – getting rid of the ants was the right thing to do.
"It's more than an ant. It's about being environmentally responsible. These canoes represent the spirit and compassion of an island community. As we travel around the world, we don't want to bring any more problems to these real fragile environments," said Kalepa Baybayan of Polynesian Voyaging Society.
Kamaaina Termite and Pest Control is donating the entire fumigating process.
"We got a call from Nainoa Thompson and it was something we could definitely handle. We stepped up and we'll take care of it for him, so when they leave they leave with nothing," said David Menton of Kamaaina Termite and Pest Control.
"We fumigate the boats year-round. We probably do 30-100 boats a year, so this is not uncommon. It is uncommon to do such a prestigious boat such as the Hokule'a, but it's not an uncommon treatment at all," Menton added.
It's a one day process, so officials say it won't affect the timing of the voyage.
"We'll be pulling the tent off this evening and then just a matter now of standing up the mass and rig and loading up the canoe. We should be able to meet the departure schedule of 5:30 Saturday evening," said Baybayan.