Tuesday, November 26, 2013


THERE was something in the last picture I posted that caused me to write this.
If you are lost at sea with no land in sight and have lost your bearing, how can you tell if there is possibility of reaching an island in a certain direction?

Answer: Look out for clouds piling up into the sky over the horizon, like those over the island that could be vaguely seen in the picture posted earlier. Study that picture again.
(Precipitation processes on big islands cause the formation of clouds - wooly, cumulus types - over them.)
This knowledge is basic for many islanders in the Pacific.

In Polynesia, particularly in Tahiti, traditional sailors out at sea, returning from a fishing, or sailing, trip look out for a particular glow that rises up over their atolls.
That helps them paddle/sail in the right direction.
(I got this bit from reading the book “The Boy Who Was Afraid” by American author, Armstrong Sperry.)   

Others search for certain stars to get their bearing right. From my own research, I know people in the islands of East Sepik and Manus who (though educated in the western world) still search the night sky to set the course of their boats. Amazing, don’t you think?

I am sure there are others in the New Guinea Islands and Milne Bay who do the same.

(NB: I am an advocate for traditional sailing knowledge.)

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