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February 27, 2005

Polynesian Voyaging

I just got back from a week in Hawaii. We stayed at the Grand Wailea Resort, which is everything Caitlin Flanagan said it was.

On the plane over I read an interesting article in the Hawaiian Airlines magazine, about ocean-going sailing canoes. Starting in the mid-1970s with the construction of Hokule'a by the Polynesian Voyaging Society, there has been a revival of the traditional long-distance canoe voyages between Pacific islands. The PVS Voyages page lists some of the journeys undertaken. Tahiti! Easter Island! This is great romantic stuff: "the ancient art of guiding canoes by the celestial bodies and ocean swells". It gets better: the art almost went extinct, based on this quote from another part of the site: "In 1973 there was only one deep-sea navigator that PVS knew of; today there are nine, with several more in training, along with 135 experienced deep-sea sailors in Hawai'i alone-ensuring that the Hawaiian people will never again lose their traditions of voyaging and navigation."

In 1995 two of the canoes were in Seattle, but I was unaware of it. I probably heard about it, but it didn't register as anything unusual, maybe the same as those tall ships people sometimes build and sail around. Here's one account of the visit [second item, marked "June 1995"]; OK, a thousand people showed up, not bad.

Posted by AdamBa at February 27, 2005 11:06 PM

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