Chapter 2: Navigation

“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”

—DOUGLAS ADAMS, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

I’VE BEEN READING about a man named Pius “Mau” Piailug who, in 1976, navigated a large voyaging canoe across the Pacific, traveling more than 3,000 miles from Hawai’i to Tahiti. Piailug sailed without the aid of maps, computer-assisted navigation, or any other equipment—instead, he used the stars, sun, and moon to guide him. In fact, the instrument most helpful to him never made it onto his vessel: a star compass, a ring of shells, coral, or pebbles placed around a center point (FIG 2.1). The simple-looking ...

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