Hawaiian star compass

Kohanaiki Beach Park, north of Kailua Kona, is a favorite spot for surfers. But at the south end of the park, the focus switches to history.

There’s a hālau, Ka Hale Waʽa, which is used for teaching Hawaiian crafts and culture. There’s a garden which grows the same kind of plants brought over by the first Polynesian settlers. And there’s a Hawaiian star compass, a 17-foot diameter recreation showing how the Polynesians used to navigate the vast open spaces of the Pacific Ocean.

The top photo show shows the compass. The middle photo shows a plaque, which explains the basics of how it works, using the points of the compass, the sun, nighttime celestial bodies and the ocean swells. I won’t go into detail here, but more information can be found here, here, and here. Below, the setting of the compass, with a Pacific golden plover walking on it. I like this shot because the plover is said to be the reason Polynesians discovered Hawaii. Each year, plovers summer in Alaska and then fly south as far as New Zealand. It is said that the Polynesians noted this small bird’s annual journey back and forth and figured there must be land somewhere to the north, so they set out in their canoes to find it.

Posted in response to this week’s Sunday Stills challenge on the theme of ‘Round.’ See more offerings here.

7 thoughts on “Hawaiian star compass

  1. Hugh's Views and News

    What a great object and with such a lot of history as to why it was built. I love the fact that the Polynesians noted the small bird’s annual journey back and forth and figured there must be land somewhere to the north, so they set out in their canoes to find it. I only wish I could think like that, Graham.

    Thank you for joining this week’s Sunday Stills challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Graham Post author

      The bird is a great story and the methods of navigation fascinating. I suspect nowadays that most sailors just get their position from a GPS. Goodness only knows how they’d survive if their electronics broke down.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hugh's Views and News

        It reminds me of how the human race would now cope without having wi-fi. I read lots of blogs posts about bloggers who experience life without wifi for a couple of days. Some of them say it was the worst experience of their lives, although a few other experiences come to my mind than being without wifi.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Terri Webster Schrandt

    Nice shot of the compass, Graham. It’s amazing to think of how the first Polynesians circumnavigated to Hawaii using the stars and night sky! I have a quick moment on wifi before we head back out to Nevada’s Valley of Fire 😁

    Liked by 1 person

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