NAVIGATION USING SWELLS AND WAVES

II. NAVIGATION USING SWELLS AND WAVES – “HOKOHUA LOA AND HOKOHUA KIKO”

Data was elaborated that added to and built upon previously conveyed data (during 27 inter-island voyages in the Santa Cruz Group and between Taumako and New Zealand in small sailboats during 1993 – 2005). The new data includes various drawings and discussions of how one senses the phenomena and how widespread it is, and in three demonstrations at sea (outside the fringing reef) within 5 n.m. of Taumako during the 2008 field season.

Kaveia explained and showed me refracted and reflected swells and waves. at sea dozens of times during 1993 – 2005…but always when we were aboard sailboats rather than Taumako canoes.  The three diagrams (below) of reflected and refracted swells shown in We The Navigators and Vaka Moana are helpful in understanding the drawing that Kaveia made in the sand showing the wave articulations he used in navigation when drifting aboard a ship between Taumako and Nifiloli in 2004.

In the photo below Te Aliki Kaveia draws in the sand to answer the question of the young man – “How did you know we had not drifted past Nifiloli?” The drift that the young man refers to was a disabled government ship that drifted for a period of nearly 3 days in very poor visibility because of rain and fog. The ships captain had no use of his compass or instruments and did not know where they were. Kaveia had told the passengers that they were still on the Taumako side of Nifiloli and there was nothing to worry about. Here he explains how he knew…

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Below Kaveia draws a swell diagram in the sand (photo by M. George)

 

Below is a K. Kaveia and M. George re-drawing of Kaveia’s diagram in the sand, which shows the refracted and reflected swell patterns between Taumako and Nifiloli

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Swell Patterns between Taumako and Nifiloli



This diagram above, and other explanatory, simpler, diagrams I will transcribe from drawings Kaveia made in the sand, bear interesting similarities to the “Mattang chart” used in Marshall Islands (below). These will be elaborated in a full report and should be the subject of future cross-cultural research.

Marshall Islands "Mattang Chart

Marshall Islands “Mattang Chart

By Dr. Mimi George for the National Science Foundation

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