Pacific Navigators


The Samoa Voyaging Society participates in
open ocean voyages along ancient Pacific migratory routes
retracing the steps of our ancestors.

Polynesian navigation was used for thousands of years to make long voyages across thousands of miles of open ocean. Navigators travelled to small inhabited islands using only their own senses and knowledge passed by oral tradition from master to apprentice, often in the form of song. In order to locate directions at various times of day and year, Polynesian navigators memorize important facts: the motion of specific stars, so where they would rise and set on the horizon of the ocean; weather and the seasons of travel; wildlife species (which gather at particular positions); the direction, size, and speed of ocean waves; colors of the sea and sky, especially how clouds would cluster at the locations of some islands; and angles for approaching harbours.”