THE NAVIGATORS

Over 1,000 years ago, the islands of Polynesia were explored and settled by navigators who used only the waves, the stars, and the flights of birds for guidance. In hand-built, double-hulled canoes sixty feet long, the ancestors of today's Polynesians sailed across a vast ocean area, larger than Europe and North America combined. To explore this ancient navigational heritage, anthropologist/filmmaker Sanford Low visited the tiny coral atoll of Satawal in Micronesia's remote Caroline Islands. There he spoke with Mau Piailug, the last navigator to be ceremonially initiated on Satawal, and one of the few men who still practice the once-essential art of navigation in the Pacific. In a dramatic demonstration, Mau Piailug sails a replica of an original Polynesian canoe from Hawaii to Tahiti: 2500 miles across the ocean without benefit of sextant, compass, or any other Western navigational instrument.

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