Islands - Part 2 - Navigating the Pacific
only two things the people needed were the double canoe and a skilled
navigator. These Polynesian navigators had developed over centuries a
sophisticated system of navigation based on spatial orientation.
of the sky was an important and hard core oral tradition for them, with
the training of a navigator beginning at 12 years of age and taking 20
years to become proficient in, due to the bulk of information he had to
familiar himself with. This included everything there was to know about
- the workings
of the double canoe
- the positions
and movements of the several hundred stars in the sky
- bird identification
and so on.
is of Hokuleia, the Polynesian Voyaging Society's first canoe. The society
built it, then sailed it in 1976 to prove that Polynesian navigation over
long distances was possible without the use of western instruments.
trip covered 5,000 miles between Hawai'i and Tahiti and proved that such
trips were possible. If this interests you, you might want to read about
Thor Heyerdahl, who beat the society to it in 1947 in the Easter