From Hawaii to Easter Island is almost 5,000 miles as the seagull flies. The latter island is a mere 63.17 square miles in an ocean of about 60 million square miles. To sail from one to the other without drifting off course requires beyond pinpoint accuracy.
Despite that, ancient Polynesian peoples carried out such intensely difficult voyages using what many would consider primitive navigation techniques.
These methods, using celestial positions, bird observations and swell patterns, produced near impossible results, far transcending the greatest achievements of European explorers, even the far-reaching Vikings.
Polynesian navigation techniques are kept alive and well by the Polynesian Voyaging Society, of which explorer and environmentalist Nainoa Thompson is currently president.
Thompson will visit The Community Library next Wednesday, Sept. 25, to provide insights into these still viable navigation techniques. His experiences shed light on history, tradition, humanity’s relationship with the natural world and the importance of preserving the ocean moving forward.
Thompson’s free lecture will begin at 6 p.m. next Wednesday at the Ketchum library. Visit comlib.org for details.