Inmarsat’s FleetBroadband takes audience on Polynesian adventure

23 July 2014: Inmarsat is helping audiences get a feel for life on the high seas aboard a Polynesian canoe travelling around the world.


The 72ft (22m) Hikianalia is taking part in the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, a 47,000-mile (76,000km) open ocean journey, alongside its 62ft (19m) sister canoe, Hōkūle‘a.

Hikianalia has been fitted with a solar-powered Cobham SATCOM Sailor 500 FleetBroadband terminal – critical to spreading the islanders’ message highlighting the importance of protecting our planet and inspiring communities to look after their resources.

‘Work horse’

FleetBroadband provides Hikianalia with up to a 496kbps connection to send and receive email for operations and safety information and send content to the voyage website, a Hawaiian TV station and social media.

“FB500 is a workhorse. We’ve done numerous video calls to schools and news stations here in Hawaii,” said Keoni Lee from Ōiwi TV, a spokesperson for the voyage.

“The following for the voyage is growing quickly, for example our Facebook page has gone from 9,000 to 21,000 in large part to the fact that we are getting so much content back from the canoes in a timely manner thanks to FleetBroadband. It’s awesome! The feedback and comments are also tremendously supportive and uplifting.”

Data transfer

FB500 also means the crew can take part in Google hangouts every week with news stations and students, who have ‘adopted’ a crew member.

The canoes act as floating classrooms and represent models of sustainability among the island people, who are famed for their seafaring skills.

In addition, AirMax Wi-Fi, supplied by Ubiquiti Networks, enables data transfer from Hōkūleʻa to Hikianalia at over three miles’ distance over FB500 – crucial in keeping the two boats connected.

Traditional skills

The 39-month journey organised by the Polynesian Voyaging Society left for Tahiti in May after spending a year travelling around Hawaii.

Each boat is crewed by between 12 to 14 sailors using traditional navigation skills, such as star and weather patterns, and ocean and marine life movements.

Hōkūle‘a is famous for her maiden voyage sailing from Hawaii to Tahiti in 1976 using Polynesian navigation techniques without the aid of modern instruments.

Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage: