Essay: sailing by nature’s compass

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In the Monday issue of the Vineyard Gazette, sailor and author Sam Low recalls a voyage to celebrate an earlier seafaring people who explored and settled one third of Earth’s surface long before Columbus set out.

“As we sailed beyond the reef and into the deep ocean, the sea turned azure, then almost black. On shore, the people of Tautira village waved farewell against a backdrop of palm trees and nestled houses. I imagined a similar scene, a thousand years ago, when my ancestors set out on voyages of exploration to the furthest reaches of the Polynesian triangle,” Lowe writes. “We set our sails to the southeast trade winds and our vessel, Hokule’a, accelerated. She is a 62-foot double-hulled canoe, essentially a catamaran, a design that evolved over thousands of years of trial and error by Polynesian seafarers who voyaged this vast Pacific Ocean.”

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