Hawaii canoe's voyage showcases ancient navigation - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii canoe's voyage showcases ancient navigation

Posted: Updated:
Photo: Chase Lum Photography Photo: Chase Lum Photography

By SAM EIFLING
Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) - When the voyaging canoe Hokulea leaves Hawaii this month on a three-year global odyssey, its crew will navigate primarily using ancient methods.

To prepare, its navigators will chart a course on a map. Aboard the sailing canoe, they rely only on memory of that course.

Their wayfinding relies on the movement of the sun, the position of stars and a feel for ocean currents.

The crew constantly gauges their speed to figure distances. Debris floating on the open ocean hints at land. Navigators rely on seabirds to lead them to islands.

Only a few navigators in the world are capable of sailing so precisely across thousands of miles without instruments. To them, their art remains a feat of mental math, applied astronomy, intuition, endurance, mental fortitude and keen observation.

Note: To track the Hokulea, click here: http://www.hokulea.com/track-the-voyage/  

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.