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Oceania and the Pacific

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How did people know where to sail in Oceania and the Pacific?

Did they just get lucky to stumble upon remote places like Hawaii or do you think countless migrations were lost for that one success?
I don't get this at all either.

I understand that if they were good sailors they could find a place once they knew it was there, but did they make a habit of sailing WAY out into the middle of nowhere just to see if they'd find anything? That sounds utterly mad.
They would sail out looking for new lands and use the stars to navigate back if they didn't find something. Probably lots and lots of them never came back.
Humans do tons of crazy things.
It wasn't luck. Austronesians, especially polynesians were very advanced sailors for their time. No compasses were used,
navigators relied on knowledge of things like the stars, winds, swells, currents and birds to find land.
They had ridiculously complex navigation techniques for a stone age people.

They tended to memorize star locations, and the wave patterns of the entire Pacific, and they had really complicated oceanographic charts made out of sticks and twine.

It's an interesting case of pre-historic technology reaching a really specialized and sophisticated level.

But how did they know to sail towards Hawaii or Easter island? How did they know they would eventually find land? No bird could have flew from Hawaii to Tahiti or the Society islands

I'd guess there are some signs an experienced sea farer could use to determine if there is land near by.
They used astronomical navigation, it's really interesting. In NZ high school years ago I remember we spent a class using a ridiculously in depth Polynesian sailing simulator for history class.

Pretty interesting stuff.
Hawai'i wasn't completely cut off either, Tahitians, Marquesans and Hawaiians sailed to and from each others islands, most islanders were aware of where their ancestors came from and where there relatives still lived. Easter Island or Rapa Nui is more of an exception
Were the Polynesians into deep-sea fishing? Surely they had some other purpose for undertaking these epic sea voyages into the unknown, other than to see if something was there.
by using catamaran by dozens
by naming the stars and constellations

by having huge balls or being unconscious
Yeah but someone had to be the first to get there
How else are you going to get around in the South Pacific?

Without that, the entire universe consists of nothing but your own tiny little island.

Also, the islands of the South Pacific were among the very last places on earth to be inhabited by humans. When Caesar got shanked, most of the South Pacific was still unsettled, if memory serves.
there may have been problems between families on their original islands, also a lot of the folklore and deities had to do with wayfinding so i can imagine for some they'd feel they were born to navigate
>being unconscious

this part really interests me. the unconscious was simply able to tap into instinct, maybe magnetism, and at that point in humanity's development the "ego" may have been perceived as a god (think I've heard this idea espoused in regards to the greeks) distinct from the perceiving agent.
It's especially surprising in light of how long it took Europeans with vastly more technology to cross the comparatively narrow Atlantic, or navigate down Africa (where they could simply hug the coast).
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>Surely they had some other purpose for undertaking these epic sea voyages into the unknown, other than to see if something was there

Yeah, why would humans do that. it makes no sense.
they always believed' they would they didn't know they would, all of the settled islands have 'canoe plants' and animals that can be traced back to SEA, these were always carried because they believed they would find land where they would come in handy
one idea is that they intuited the location of the islands over time based on the migration of the pacific golden plover when they'd leave towards hawaii.
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What do you guys think about Pacific connections to south America?

Apparently the sweet potato is abundant in oceania and the pacific, which would suggest contact since it originates in south America.

They also did genetic testing on chickens and found evidence to suggest Polynesians brought them to south America.
Isn't that just from continental drifting in pangaeoa they would have been very close.
They might follow where birds flew to. They might not be sure how far a bird might go; so I think what they could do is bring enough supplies to go a certain distance and come back and see if they would make it to an island they'd never been to before making it that distance. Then next time they could bring more supplies than last time while following birds going the same way because they knew they didn't get to a new island the last distance they went.


Back in mid-September Roberta Estes had a blog entry Native American Mitochondrial Haplogroups. It’s basically a list of mitochondrial haplogroups that exists among Native Americans. But what caught my eye was the Polynesian motif – B4a1a1. She wrote, “B4a1a1 – found in skeletal remains of the now extinct Botocudos (Aimores) Indians of Brazil, thought to perhaps have arrived from Polynesia via the slave trade. This haplogroup is found in 20% of the mtDNA of Madagascar.

So the real question is were these two skulls the result of that recent slave trade originating from Madagascar, or did somehow a very few handful of Polynesians made their way all the way to Brazil? The Botocudos lived in the interior portion of the state of Minas Gerais, so very far from the Pacific Ocean.

Lisa Matisoo-Smith said it best, that to call that haplogroup Polynesian is a bit of a misnomer, particularly because we know it also exists in the Philippines and the subgroup – B4a1a1b (Malagasy motif) is in Madagascar. Until a full sequencing test is done, there still may be some debate as to whether or not Polynesians have gone that far into the interior of South America, or that these skulls were the descendants of Malagasy brought over during the slave trade.
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For more Oceanian genetic shenanigans
>The Tupí-speaking Suruí and Karitiana and the Ge-speaking Xavante of the Amazon had a genetic ancestor more closely related to indigenous Australasians than to any other present-day population. This ancestor doesn't appear to have left measurable traces in other Native American groups in South, Central or North America.

>The genetic markers from this ancestor don't match any population known to have contributed ancestry to Native Americans, and the geographic pattern can't be explained by post-Columbian European, African or Polynesian mixture with Native Americans, the authors said. They believe the ancestry is much older--perhaps as old as the First Americans.

>"About 2 percent of the ancestry of Amazonians today comes from this Australasian lineage that's not present in the same way elsewhere in the Americas," said Reich.

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