Adventurous Polynesian sailors discovered most of the 25,000 islands in the Pacific more than 1,000 years before Europeans first sailed there in the 16th century. The Polynesian voyage from the Marquesas Islands to the discovery of Hawaii in 800 A.D. was over 2,000 miles across open seas.
"The ancient Polynesians were capable of purposeful migration and voyaging,” explained Polynesian Voyaging Society anthropologist Ben Finney.
The innovative Polynesians would use canoes, either vaka (with two smooth hulls) or outrigger; with coarse sails made of the coconut palm or pandanus (passion fruit) plant.
"All great discoveries," observed clergyman and reformer Charles H. Parkhurst, "are made by people whose feelings run ahead of their thinking."
Feelings and intuition were vital for their voyages. Amazingly, the bold Polynesian navigators found their way across the vast Pacific without instruments. Movement of ocean swells, bird migration, and dolphin travel helped them find their way.
With years of training, an experienced Polynesian navigator could lie down on the outrigger to "feel" the ocean and keep his vessel on course.
"It's not where we stand but in what direction we are moving," observed philosopher Johann von Goethe.
Polynesians were experts in the movement of stars. By associating the 16 groups of guiding stars in rhymes and giving names to over 200 stars, the sailors were able to find the safe harbor they were looking for.
Be bold and venture into the unknown.