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We, the Navigators: Ancient Art of Landfinding in the Pacific Paperback – 31 Oct 1994


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Product details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press; 2nd Revised edition edition (31 Oct. 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0824815823
  • ISBN-13: 978-0824815820
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.6 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 644,271 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 4 Jun. 1999
Format: Paperback
"We, The Navigators" is one of the first books written about polynesian navigation over great distances without benefit of any instruments except the senses of the navigators. The polynesians steered by the stars, sun, swell patterns, wind, birds, clouds, phosphorescence in the sea. "The Navigators" began training as soon as they were weened and had to memorize thousands of factors to enable then to reach islands that their ancestors had been traveling to for generations. This book is a great source for both scholars and sailors. However; be warned that if you don't have some knowledge of sailing and navigation you may not fully appreciate "We, the Navigators"
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By T. GOOLEY on 14 Mar. 2009
Format: Paperback
As a researcher and teacher in the field of non-instrument navigation I have read a lot of books about the history of pacific navigation. This book stands out very clearly as a brilliant work. It is recommended reading on all my courses.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 Dec. 1996
Format: Paperback
.. this book tells you how the stone age polynesians navigated in the vast Pacific.

The reseach is immaculate: Mr. Lewis found the last indigenous navigators, learned their techniques and sailed with them. This book is almost the sole document of the greatest navigators in history, and so wonderfully written that you forget it is a scientific work.
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By David Giffard on 6 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book should be read by all who wish to understand navigation at sea. No charts, tide tables compass or GPS
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 22 reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Polynesian navigation over great distances w/o instruments 4 Jun. 1999
By LPMY27A@prodigy.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
"We, The Navigators" is one of the first books written about polynesian navigation over great distances without benefit of any instruments except the senses of the navigators. The polynesians steered by the stars, sun, swell patterns, wind, birds, clouds, phosphorescence in the sea. "The Navigators" began training as soon as they were weened and had to memorize thousands of factors to enable then to reach islands that their ancestors had been traveling to for generations. This book is a great source for both scholars and sailors. However; be warned that if you don't have some knowledge of sailing and navigation you may not fully appreciate "We, the Navigators"
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
An academic book by a knowledgable navigator 23 April 2002
By Stephan Meyn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is written by an academic. I don't necessarily mean this in a negative sense. The author has done a very thorough research on the topic and presented his findings. The effect is a book that can be called a comprehensive treatment as far as it can be done given that the practictioners are disappearing fast.
The downside is that it can send you to sleep as the author systematically compares how the navigational techniques are practiced in the various island groups.
The strength of the book is not only its thoroughness but also the fact that the author is a skilled sailor who has gone on trips using these techniques. This makes the material so much more authentic, because the reader can relate how effective these skills are and yet how much practice they require.
The author provides commentary on many practices and relates them to our modern day knowledge. An example was their ability to recognize the impact of sub surface currents, something that is today a rather specialist piece of knowledge not available to the everyday sailor.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
The Old Way of Navigation Preserved! 1 Oct. 1999
By George Erikson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A triumph! Lewis's "hands-on" investigation of ancient
sailing tchniques in the Pacific now includes a description of a
renaissance in celestial navigation in Polynesia. The old way, the way
of passing on knowledge of sighting stars and zenith stars, is once
again being passed on from one generation to another.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Ancient Polynesian navigation 16 Dec. 2008
By C. M. Wood - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I was a Naval Officer for 22 years. 5 years of that time was spent as a Navigator on two different submarines. I was fascinated by the way the Polynesians can find their way over hundreds of miles of open ocean with no instruments. As David Lewis observes, "It's amazing how much you notice when your life depends on it."

The "ancient art" in the title is a misnomer. They still have Navigators in Hawaii and they continue to both practice their skills themselves and teach their children. See the YouTube postings of Ed Kaiwi for more information about Hawaiian lore.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Exellent on Pacific Voyaging 6 Dec. 1999
By Johan J. Petersen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
David Lewis has zig-zaged the Pacific in modern yachts and traditional canoes. His broad experience and long resarch, using his own and many schoolars data, has made this a good analysis and documentation of the extremly impressing and interesting phenomenon of ancient and present voyaging in the Pacific. Others, specially anthropologists fieldworking in the Central Carolines of Micronesia, had written about the presently used Micronesian voyaging system, others less throughly about the forgotten polynesian,but Lewis mangage to give a synthesis of the technologies and some of the social aspects of traditional voyaging in the Pacific
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