Traditional Navigation in the Western Pacific

About this Presentation

The material presented here is an online adaptation of an article which first appeared in the Museum's Expedition Magazine vol 29 no 3 (1987).

The Expedition article was authored by Steve Thomas and Ward H. Goodenough, and it was adapted for online viewing by Phil Chase, Morgan Hesser, Cassandra Kasparian, and Najah Palm, and Raymond Rorke.

All text and images have been copyrighted. Online photographs were scanned from analog photographs by Steven Thomas. Online animated diagrams were adaped from print diagrams by Ward Goodenough. Online decorative elements were adapted from Carolinian motifs recorded by Augustin Kramer (1932).

About the Authors

figure 18, ?

Steve Thomas with Mau Piailug

After college, Steve Thomas spent several years as a professional yacht captain and navigator, logging over 30,000 miles in the Mediterranean, Atlantic, Caribbean, and Pacific. In 1983 and 1984, he made field trips to Satawal Island to study Carolinian navigation with the well-known navigator Mau Piailug (on the right in the photograph). His book, The Last Navigator, is being republished by International Marine Publishing Company. He returned in 1987 and 1988 to make with Piailug the 500-mile passage from Satawal north to Saipan, which was the subject of a PBS documentary, also called The Last Navigator. He is now the host of Public Television's home renovation series This Old House.


Ward H. Goodenough is University Professor of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania and Consulting Curator for Micronesian Ethnology in The University Museum. His ethnographic research has centered on Truk in the Caroline Islands. His publications include Property, Kin and Community on Truk; Native Astronomy in the Central Carolines; Cooperation in Change; Explorations in Cultural Anthropology; Description and Comparison in Cultural Anthropology; Culture, Language and Society; and Trukese-English Dictionary.

Dr. Ward H. Goodenough

Ward H. Goodenough

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