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Honolulu's square-rigger, Polynesian canoe, and new maritime museum.

Honolulu's square-rigger, Polynesian canoe, and new maritime museum

Long a local landmark, Aloha Tower is a fitting headquarters for the new Hawaii Maritime Center in downtown Honolulu. It documents Hawaii's colorful sea-oriented heritage, with an emphasis on the harbor. Its collection centers on two vessels Hokule'a and Falls of Clyde which you can visit at Pier 7, just southeast of the tower.

Your first stop should be the tower's ninth floor, where exhibits trace the history of Honolulu harbor from its discovery in 1792. Models detail clipper and whaling ships whose masts forested the harbor in the mid-19th century.

Brightly painted mail buoys like the one shown at right were filled with letters, postage money, and treats for the finder; in recent years, they were dropped at the harbor entrance by passing freighters.

The museum is open 8:30 to 4:30 daily except Sunday. Admission, good for all Maritime Center exhibits, is $3 for adults and $1 for children ages 6 through 12. Take bus #8 or #20 from Waikiki; there's parking on Pier 7 off Ala Moana.

Free observation decks on the spire's top floor offer outstanding city views and are open daily 8 A.M. to 9 P.M.

A 5-minute walk from Aloha Tower through Irwin Park takes you to Pier 7, where the center's two vessels are docked. They're on view 9:30 to 4:30 daily.

Falls of Clyde. Even after becoming a floating museum, the century-old square-rigger has not had an easy time of it. Restored by the Bishop Museum after a heroic fund-raising effort in the 1960s, it has been plagued by inadequate funding for maintenance. Now in a new home, the ship is again open for tours, but visitors will still see restoration work for a long time to come.

Built in Glasgow in 1878 and named for a Scottish waterfall, the 266-foot iron-hulled freighter is one of the few left with hand-riveted plates. On board you'll see evidence of the ship's other careers: oil tanker, barge, and floating oil depot.

About to be sunk for a breakwater in Alaska in the early 1960s, the hulk was rescued, towed to Hawaii, and restored to her original configuration and rigging.

You can crank the teak steering wheel, peek in the galley, and examine artifacts in the saloon--a cozy room with a curing etched-glass skylight and walls paneled with bird's-eye maple.

Hokule'a. Moored off the bow of the Falls of Clyde, the Hokule'a is a replica of the double-hulled canoe that anthropologists believe ancient Polynesians sailed on regular open-ocean voyages between island groups. To prove that Polynesians made such trips, Islanders sailed Hokule'a to Tahiti and back in 1976 and 1980, navigating without instruments by watching the stars and wave patterns.

Just 60 feet long, the Hokule'a is too small for visitor boarding, but a pavilion is being built for related exhibits.

Photo: Square-rigged Falls of Clyde and the twin-hulled Ploynesian canoe Hokule'a are part of Honolulu's new Hawaii Maritime Center

Photo: Jury-rigged mail buoys were dropped at harbor entrance by passing ships to save berthing fee. These are at Aloha Tower museum (ornate tower in top picture)
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Date:Mar 1, 1984
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