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    Re: Ocean swells for direction
    From: Fred Hebard
    Date: 2004 Feb 19, 08:45 -0500

    One of the interesting facts about all these maritime folks of the
    Pacific is that they extensively cultivated the sweet potato, Ipomoea
    batatis.  That cultivation extended all the way to Japan, apparently
    before Westeners were navigating the Pacific.  The botanical evidence
    very clearly indicates that the sweet potato originated in western
    South America; that is the center of diversity of the genus, and the
    only locale where numerous members of the genus live.  The inescapable
    conclusion to me is that these folks reached the western shores of
    South America a long time ago, and returned.
    
    Fred
    
    On Feb 19, 2004, at 5:57 AM, Peter Fogg wrote:
    
    > ----- Original Message -----
    > Not to be too picky about this but most of the writings of David Lewis
    > regarding swell sailing are from Micronesia not Polynesia.
    > Mau is from Micronesia, more specifically Yap and more specifically
    > Satawal
    > Doug Sheer
    >
    > Perhaps we should say Polynesia AND Micronesia AND Melanesia, although
    > the
    > three are well intermixed, one result of all that ocean wandering.
    > The Melanesians inhabit New Guinea, the Salomon Islands, Vanuatu and
    > New
    > Caledonia. Some would say Fiji also, although the indiginous Fijians
    > are
    > more Polynesian than their Melanesian cousins to the west. The name
    > Melanesia simply indicates their black skin. They are often confused
    > with
    > the geographically adjacent Australian aborigines, particularly in the
    > Torres Strait,
    > although they are not closely related.
    >
    > Generally the Melanesians are not credited with the same sailing
    > skills as
    > the Poynesians/Micronesians, although I have an engraving from the
    > 1880s
    > showing a large double hulled sailing canoe from the Ile des Pins (off
    > the
    > southern tip of New Caledonia) that looks similar enough to the craft
    > used
    > by the
    > Polynesians to suggest that this may not be the whole story. In
    > Vanuatu,
    > a chain of islands to the north, one island speaks a version of
    > Polynesian
    > while an
    > adjoining island speaks a language descended from Malay, a clue to the
    > cultural diversity of that somewhat isolated place.
    >
    > When the Maoris (Polynesians) came to New Zealand, only about a
    > thousand
    > years ago, they displaced (absorbed?) people already living there, of
    > whom
    > almost nothing is known. I don't know who they were either, but it
    > seems
    > as likely as anything else that they could have been Melanesian.
    > Some of these Pacific Ocean travellers must have fetched up on the
    > eastern
    > Australian coastline, also, but they have left no trace we know about.
    >
    > Speaking of l'Ile des Pins, it lies one day by sail to the main island
    > of
    > New Caledonia but three days to return upwind, so regular are the
    > south-east
    > trade winds that these are the sailing directions used for charter
    > boats
    > today. Of all the lovely places he visited in the Pacific Captain Cook
    > was
    > particularly impressed with this small and happy place, even now its
    > easy to
    > feel the same way ...
    >
    
    
    

       
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