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    Re: No sextant, no watch, no almanach, nothing
    From: Frank Reed CT
    Date: 2004 Nov 8, 00:28 EST
    Of Polynesian navigation, Alex E wrote:
    "It is easy to imagine for me how they determine latitude.
    What is really hard to imagine, that they could determine
    longitude by their Cel Nav methods, even roughly."

    It is almost certain that they did not. Historically, celestial means of determining longitude in real practical circumstances were invented in Europe and invented there first.

    There's a little wrinkle to keep in mind when considering recent (past few decades) interviews with Polynesian navigators. Those cultures have been in contact with Western navigational knowledge for over a century, sometimes two and three centuries. It is very likely that we are seeing remnants of traditional methods with an unknown admixture of western navigation methods.

    Of course, not everyone accepts that history is what it appears to be... If you get a kick out of "eccentric" theories (to put it politely), you might enjoy reading this web page in which the author contends that lunar observations were used to get longitude and traverse the Pacific centuries, even millennia, before such methods were discovered in Europe:
    http://www.eutopia.no/Aintso.htm

    It's the last six or seven paragraphs at the very bottom of the web page that get into the wild claims about ancient navigation.

    Frank R
    [ ] Mystic, Connecticut
    [X] Chicago, Illinois
       
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