The Hawaiians used many natural tools to navigate. For instance, the
Hawaiians used the stars, ocean swells, winds, bird patterns, clouds, the
moon and the sun. Canis Major is one of the most important constellations
used in navigating. Sirius is the brightest star. You can find Sirius in
Canis Major. When traveling to Tahiti, Sirius was a very important
star because it was directly over Tahiti. When the navigator saw clouds with a haze of green, he knew they were
probably close to land. Mostly because it could be an island's vegetation.
If the clouds had a haze of blue, they could be near a lagoon.
The sun always rises in the East and sets in the West. That helped the
navigators with direction. If the navigators were heading south then the sun
would be rising in the left. If they were heading north the sun would rise
on the right.
The moon was the crew's calendar. There were two types of calendars.
Everyday the size and shape of the moon would change. That would tell
them what day it was. The other kind of calendar was a counting rope. After
every day passed, the crew would tie a knot on the rope. They would tie those knots to
see how many days they have been at sea.
Ocean swells are just below the waves. They help the navigators to steer.
The ocean swells come in patterns because of wind and storm systems. On
cloudy days and overcast nights, the navigators used ocean swell
directions to keep on course.
The wind was important,too. It helped hurry the voyage. The navigator
feels the wind on his face. Depending on how much the wind fills the
sails, he changes his course direction. The navigator is careful to watch
for storms by looking out for a big shift in the wind direction and air
The navigator knew which birds flew far out to sea and which birds
stayed by land. Even when the navigator could not see through the fog, he
could tell how far away from land they were by listening to the
sounds of the birds. One type of bird is the Golden Plover or the Kolea.
During the daytime the Kolea comes out to rest on the sea and afterwards,
it flies up north to its homeland. The Hawaiians followed this bird because
every night it flies north to where it lives and they knew that it wasn't a
I got this information from this website: Wayfinding in the Middle of the Pacific