Maohi Voyaging


The double-hulled canoe

The double-hulled canoe is in the center of the everyday life and all the major elements of the Polynesian community of formerly.
Simple beam canoe for fishing or the walk, hulls frayed for the race with veil or displacements from one island to another, heavy convoys of warriors rowing with the sound of the pahu, elegant ceremonial canoe or of pageantry, the forms are rich and numerous and the varied styles from one archipelago to another. But over all, the Polynesians concretized their science of navigation and shown their art of carpenters of navy with their large double-hulled canoe of voyage or va'a tau'ati.

It was necessary that the assemblies resist the violence of the storms, that the braiding of the veils and the ropes is particularly neat and solid.
On board, several families embarked with their provisions for weeks, plants and domestic animals, tools and all that would make it possible to be installed on a new land.

It is thanks to their design that, even heavily charged, these boats remained handy and especially enough fast to face long ways without stopover and it is not a chance, if several centuries after, the manufacturers of catamarans of competitions and voyages are always inspired some.

Traditional navigation

Neither chart, nor sextant, nor compass, nor chronometer …
To guide their double-hulled canoe on the ocean, the Polynesian navigators had only their donation of observation and the knowledge inherited from their fathers.

With the wire of the generations, they had learned how to follow the race of the stars, to know the winds and the currents, with reading their road in the constellations and interpreting the least sign visible in the shape of the clouds or at the surface of the ocean.

All that floats, stroke or fly is an invaluable indication: these seeds and these remains with the drift, these birds which return each evening to nest in their island, these turtles which turn over to lay where they were born, these whales which take back their seasonal road...

After years of training, the navigators had memorized the way of each star, its rising and its to sleep for each island, the star which passed to its zenith.

So, to find Ra'iatea, all double-hulled canoes will converge on Ta' urua hau papa, called also ' Aa or sirius, her zénithale star, biggest and the most bright of all sky.

Polynesian Triangle Association

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