An article in the New York Times March 17 featuring Marshallese navigation techniques has gone viral and the link is being scattered electronically around the world, giving thousands upon thousands of people the chance to read about an ocean-going voyage in a canoe from Majuro in June last year.
The headline on the 6,000-word feature article is ‘The Secrets of the Wave Pilots’ and is followed by an enticing introduction: “For thousands of years, sailors in the Marshall Islands have navigated vast distances of open ocean without instruments. Can science explain their method before it’s lost forever?”
The must-read story is written by Kim Tingley, who, with a number of scientists, joined the voyage of the Waan Aelon in Majel (Canoes of the Marshall Islands, WAM) canoe to Aur on the project’s chase vessel. In it, she explains that the Director of WAM and captain of the Jitdam Kapeel canoe, Alson Kelen, is “potentially the world’s last-ever apprentice in the ancient art of wave-piloting.” Kim continues in the NYT article that “If successful, he would prove that one of the most sophisticated navigational techniques ever developed still existed and, he hoped, inspire efforts to save it from extinction.”
Read more about this in the March 25, 2016 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.