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The Last Navigator

4.09  ·  Rating Details  ·  43 Ratings  ·  5 Reviews
Explains how the Micronesian's ancient skills of navigation are at risk as its young people turn to Western ways.
Paperback, 307 pages
Published October 1st 1997 by International Marine Publishing (first published 1987)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 110)
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Sep 21, 2015 Karen rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel-the-world
Steve Thomas bought his first boat at 13, and has been an avid sailor since. He has sailed in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. After losing one of his navigating instruments, he became very interesting in navigating without instruments at all. He did some research and found that in the Carolina Islands in the Pacific, there are some locals that still navigate by the stars, currents and birds.
On the Carolina Islands, navigators or palu were the elite, because they made sure the people of th
Aug 08, 2012 Mitch rated it it was ok
Shelves: biographical
This book is a combination of two basic things: it contains an account of the author's time spent on various islands in Micronesia, learning the islanders' ways of navigating the sea and it has pages and pages of the information he learned.

Throughout the book the author and people he interacted with wonder and lament whether these old ways will survive in the face of modern times- and everyone is pretty sure that they won't.

The navigating knowledge is pretty involved and contains a lot of incomp
Eric Ruark
Jun 20, 2014 Eric Ruark rated it it was amazing
I don't know how I let this one slip through my fingers. Given to me by another skipper at the marina, I devoured Mr. Thomas' adventure learning the navigation techniques of the Oceania people. They had a 6000 year old culture that was making blue water voyages in outrigger canoes while European people were still living in dirt huts. Aloha Magazine said it the best: A finely crafted and compelling book about the fast approaching death of an ancient way of life.
May 24, 2016 Jacqueline rated it liked it
An entirely unique book about the culture of a Micronesian island and the navigation system worked out by its inhabitants. Written at a moment in time when the culture and the navigation system were both probably dying. A case study in the evils of colonialism.
Jim Gillis
Dec 27, 2013 Jim Gillis rated it really liked it
Yes, the same Steve Thomas that was paired with Norm on "This Old House." There is a fair amount of documentation of oral navigation techniques, which some will find dull, I suppose. But the techniques are amazing, and it's really great that it was captured by someone who cared. A civilization spread across the pacific by reading the sea and the stars, and an oral tradition. Steve Thomas gives a glimpse at how this was done, perhaps even by now it is gone.
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