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Peopling the Pacific
Using the night sky
Other navigational signs
Making landfall
Voyaging canoes
Voyaging Sources

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We can never know for sure what made Polynesians so prone to movement and exploration on the sea; the reasons may have been many and different over time. Aside from a general adventuresome spirit and restlessness, they may have been motivated by famine, drought, or population pressures on limited island resources. Trade, deep sea fishing or colonization may have played a part. Banishment or exile may have been another factor. In addition to purposeful voyaging, some exploration may have been accidental - through storm drift or other circumstances. Reaching the farthest corners of Polynesia, however, was decidedly not an accident (nothing drifting on natural currents alone will ever travel from Tahiti to Hawai`i) and it was Polynesian knowledge and skill navigating over the open ocean that allowed them to populate such a vast area.

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