From Library Journal
Thomas, an experienced deep-water sailor, had long been fascinated by Micronesian navigators who, without maps, compasses, or sextants, sailed hundreds of miles between the islands of Oceania. To discover how these men traveled with only natural signs for guidance, he apprenticed himself to one of the few remaining navigators and lived with him on Satawal for many months. This autobiographical account describes his learning of navigation and the world view of a dying art. The sons of Piailug were not interested in traditional navigation in the face of modern Western alternatives. An anthropological account for the layperson (but with scholarly appendixes), this is also a story of personal relationships, of contrasting cultures, and of skills mostly unrecorded before now. For academic and large public collections, especially those on Oceania.Roland Person, Southern Illinois Univ . Lib . , Carbondale
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Back Cover
As a young man piloting a small sailboat across the Pacific, Steve Thomas developed a fascination with ancient methods of navigation. He learned of a seafaring culture which 6,000 years ago, used arcane navigation arts to guide initiates unerringly across the Pacific wih no compasses, no charts. By the time of Christ, these navigators were pushing on through all of Oceania, populating nearly a quarter of the Earth's surface. Thomas ventured to the tiny coral atolls of Micronesia in search of these mysteries, this ancient language of the sea. There he found the last navigator.
Mau Piailug, one of the last surviving palu, belongs to a dying breed of navigators who used only natural signs--stars, waves, birds--to guide their sailing canoes across thousands of miles of open ocean.
Thomas and Piailug voyage together on the frail ship of human memory in an attempt to preserve for future generaions an ancient, mysterious, and beautiful kinship with the sea before it is lost forever. Theirs is an unforgettable journey.
"An unusually self-revealing, honest and moving book." --Scientific American.
"Finely crafted and compellingly written. . . . A deeply saddening book about the fast approaching death of an ancient and beautiful way of life." --Aloha Magazine
Steve Thomas by thirty-one years of age had already logged more than 30,000 blue-water miles as a professional navigator and skipper before setting out to study Micronesian navigation. He is currently the host of the PBS television series "This Old House."