16 Sep 2012

Waka crew navigate by nature rather than GPS

1:28 pm on 16 September 2012

The skipper of a traditional Maori sailing canoe says his crew is learning to understand signs from nature while navigating their waka to Rapanui or Easter Island.

Two double hulled waka, Te Aurere and Ngairaka Mai Tawhiti, are sailing the last leg of the Polynesian triangle retracing the ancient voyages of their ancestors.

The Waka Tapu Expedition is about 200 nautical miles south-west of the Austral Islands in the South Pacific.

Skipper and lead navigator Jack Thatcher says because they aren't using any GPS systems his crew is learning how to use the ocean's indicators, including the currents, as well as the movements of stars, the sun and the moon to get their bearings and keep on course.

The waka are expected to arrive in Tubuai in the Austral Islands in just over a week.