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    Re: Ocean swells for direction
    From: Peter Fogg
    Date: 2004 Feb 19, 21:57 +1100

    ----- 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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