In the Pacific the best Polynesian navigators would lie in their canoes and direct outriggers by the feel of the long and slow undulations of the swell patterns – the waves that had travelled hundreds of miles beyond the wind systems that had generated them. They were assisted by their ancient wisdom of the stars, sun, clouds, phosphorescence, birds, seamarks, and wave refraction or reflection of the ocean.
Cook, whose Endeavour was only 33 meters in length and smaller than Fijian canoes that could carry 250 people, wrote of outriggers traveling at speeds of up to twenty-two knots. His ship could make six knots at top speeds.
~ Excerpt from forthcoming book ‘Landscape Architecture Without Landscape Architects: Our vernacular, indigenous and often anonymous ancient wisdom’