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    Re: Ancient mariners enjoyed Hawaiian holidays
    From: Michael Daly
    Date: 2007 Oct 30, 13:26 -0400

    Peter Fogg wrote:
    > By Deborah Smith Science Editor
    > October 30, 2007
    
    > The sailors would have navigated by the stars and had extensive knowledge of
    > the weather patterns. They would also have relied on clues such as the
    > driftwood, sea birds and the colour of clouds, he said.
    >
    > "Very sophisticated knowledge was passed down as part of the oral tradition
    > of a society."
    
    In one episode of a recent series on the History Channel*, "LIGHT AT THE
    EDGE OF THE WORLD", the host, Wade Davis, travelled to Hawaii and looked
    at the traditions of the native people.  In particular, he concentrated
    on the navigation skills being passed down from an elder to a younger
    man.  They followed this by doing a long voyage (1000s of km) on a
    traditional style sailing boat.  They had no navigation aids like
    sextants or GPS and relied entirely on the young navigator's learned
    skills.  He watched the skies and weather patterns, the stars, the
    currents and the materials floating on the water (indicating land),
    birds etc.  The "map" of the Pacific was recorded in the mind in the
    form of all this information.  They successfully reached their
    destination with little error.
    
    Davis, who tends toward a sort-of spiritual view at times (in spite of
    being a trained anthropologist and ethnobotanist), found this suitably
    remarkable.  While a single voyage is not scientific proof of the
    navigation concepts, it certainly demonstrated that the navigator was
    not lost.  The Pacific is not a giant featureless expanse of water - the
    information on location is there if you've learned to see it.  It adds
    to the evidence that these people certainly knew the ocean well and
    could travel with confidence over long distances.
    
    *(Canadian, not sure if it was shown in the US or other countries)
    
    Mike
    
    
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