Polynesian Navigation. Astro 6 “Archeoastronomy and World Cosmology” December 15, 2000 David Chen submitted to Professor Bryan Penprase. Map of Polynesia. Surface area greater than the continent of Europe. Farthest distances between islands over 2000 miles.
Astro 6 “Archeoastronomy and World Cosmology”
December 15, 2000
submitted to Professor Bryan Penprase
Captain James Cook, first European to visit Polynesia
A sextant: a necessary navigation instrument for European sailors
Chad Baydayan [master navigator] distinguishes wayfinding from navigation - the technical art of finding land without the use of instruments or charts. He will tell you that wayfinding is "a way of organizing the world." He has also said that it's "a way of leading," "of finding a vision," "a set of values," "how to take care of the earth," and, in general, "a model for living my life.” (PVS)
Noted Heliacal Risings:
Alpha and Beta Centauri
…and solsticial sunrises and sunsets.
"The Southern Cross is really important to us. It looks like a kite. These two stars in the Southern Cross always point south (Gacrux on top and Acrux on the bottom). If you are traveling in a canoe and going south, these southern stars are going to appear to be traveling the higher and higher in the sky each night. If you went down to the South Pole, these stars are going to be way overhead. If you are going north to Hawai'i, the Southern Cross travels across the sky in a lower and lower arc each night. When you are at the latitude of Hawai'i, the distance from the top star (Gacrux) to the bottom star (Acrux) is the same distance from that bottom star to the horizon. That only occurs in the latitude of Hawai'i.” (PVC)
“...the Hawaiians used a calendar based on the moon, knew and corrected its error by reference to the stars, named each month, and each night of the month by the characteristics of the moon, and judged the hour closely by the stars at night, or the sun by day.” (PVC)
If the rainbow stood arched in the wrong quarter, if the clouds were flying in scattered fragments, the wind and sea from the wrong direction, the sailing was delayed. But if the indications were fair the astrologer completed the prognosis with an inspired dream, and the voyage was well begun. (PVC)
Polynesians were master navigators whose deep understanding of the sky was intricately connected to values of exploration, vision, and harmonious living.
Their extraordinary accomplishments stand as a testament to the power of the human mind and spirit.
0 na hoku no na kiu o ka lani .
"The stars are the eyes of heaven."
Polynesian Voyaging Society- http://leahi.kcc.hawaii.edu/org/pvs/
Sharp, Andrew. Ancient Voyagers in the Pacific. Penguin Books. London: 1957.
Gladwin, Thomas. East Is a Big Bird. Harvard University Press. Cambridge, Massachussetts: 1970.