- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: Collins (1978)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0002164043
- ISBN-13: 978-0002164047
- Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.7 x 1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,078,318 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Voyaging Stars: Secrets of the Pacific Island Navigators Paperback – 1978
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Top Customer Reviews
Some of the memorable phrases and tidbits that stand out are statements like, 'The South Pacific was explored and colonized basically by Southeast Asians by the birth of Christ 2000 years ago'. Many of the ship building and navigation techniques can be traced to the Mediterranean through the Egyptians, Indianndian, and Persian traders traveling easterly. It wasn't until the time of Magellan that any evidence of Westerly exploration was taking place, mainly through the spread of the sweet potato westerly from South America. Also there seems to be some relationship between Easter Island and South America, the story of the great raft Kon-Tiki.
From the title 'The Voyaging Stars we come to understand the use of a system of 'star maps' universal to these navigators. These maps could be applied to specific voyages and would relate to distance and time. In addition to these helpers, the ancient mariners could read currents, the great swells from the reflected, ocean temperature, observe wild terrestrial and marine life and use the sense of smell as well. There was also a phenomena called underwater lightening that one could see at certain times of the day, shooting out from the islands for a hundred so miles. This was all quite fascinating stuff for an armchair sailor and explorer like me. The Kon-Tiki expedition was inspired by old reports and drawings made by the Spanish Conquistadors of Inca rafts, and by native legends and archaeological evidence suggesting contact between South America and Polynesia.
Dr David Lewis travels with them, records and interprets their methods in Western terms and brings a wry humour to the enterprise.
The mistrust that these traditional navigators have for the magnetic compass is a measure of their considerable skill. They know them, understand them, and reject them as less accurate than the 'Star Compass' methods they use. Apparently simple techniques conceal a sophisticated technology.
For me the high point was when Dr Lewis enquires after their name for a particular star and is told "That's a satellite!".
Highly recommended for those with an interest in navigation at sea.
See also "We the Navigators" and "The boat would not go due West" by the same author.