Saturday, February 26, 2011

Revisiting "Paperless Charts"

BTW - anyone wondering why the woman from Hawai'i didn't jump right in with a fascinating essay about Polynesian wayfinding?

Well, it's because the woman from Hawai'i finds Polynesian wayfinding to be a bit of a Big Topic for what is basically a lightweight hobby blog.

Right, enough with the third person. I did think about it for about a split second, but it's really one of those topics that always leaves me feeling a bit overwhelmed.

However, I was, for a bit, thinking to figure out whether I might want to at least refer to the Pacific Triangle angle in the Paddling Blind post. In the end I decided to just focus on the paddling-blind exercise, but I did go back and look at the Marshall Island stick chart post I'd put up last year. That had actually ended up being a surprisingly interesting post for me - I'd really just chucked it out because I was reminded of the stick charts by a lovely little Inuit carved coastal map posted on the Kayak Yak blog. I thought people might find it interesting but I really had no idea just how novel an object this would be. The discussion that ensued was a great one (Tristan Gooley even stopped by!) and although I'm a little shy about tackling a topic as big as Polynesian celestial navigation, somebody asked me a direct question that was enough to get me going about the education of Nainoa Thompson. That comment really wasn't bad, practically could have been a stand-alone post.

The lambs-as-navigational-hazards post that I mentioned as one of the other entries was a repost from Captain JP, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, so if you don't mind, I'm going to follow his lead and send you on another trip in the Wayback Machine.


Tillerman said...

As you might imagine, there is quite a lot in Tristan's book about the natural navigational techniques used by the Polynesians, including a drawing of this actual chart.

Pandabonium said...

I used to sell replicas of these in my shop - Pacific Islands Trading Post - on Maui, back in the late 70's. The ancient navigators of the Pacific were the best in the world for many centuries.

bonnie said...

They were indeed. That's kind of why I didn't try to write about them - you can't really just chug out a post about that level of accomplishment without actually taking time to do proper research.

I've got enough free time right now to chug out a post about a personal experience - not enough to do the research I would want to do to produce a decent essay about Polynesian wayfinding.

I haven't got the book yet (er, just in case anyone was wondering if I did or not), but I'm glad to hear that he covered the navigators of the Pacific Triangle. You could have a good book without them, I suppose, but at least in the eyes of this island-raised paddler, it would be somehow incomplete!

JP said...

It's a great picture that one, so good to see a re-post of that story.

I'm reading a book that covers the polynesian navigational methods and I might blog a review.... though I'm slightly worried that another navigation post upset Tillerman a bit.