DVD: The Navigators


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Publisher: Mountain Apple Co.
Producer:  Low, Sam

  • Directors: Boyd Estus
  • Producers: Sam Low
  • Format: NTSC
  • Subtitles: English
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Mountain Apple
  • DVD Release Date: May 6, 2014
  • Run Time: 58 minutes

Over 1,000 years ago, the scattered islands of Polynesia were settled by an ancient seafaring people. Where did they come from? How did they navigate across the vast Pacific Ocean to settle one-third of Earth’s surface?

To find out, anthropologist Sam Low visited the tiny coral atoll of Satawal, in Micronesia’s remote Caroline Islands, to film Mau Piailug as he guides his canoe by using subtle signs in the waves, winds and stars. In his lofty canoe house he teaches the intricacies of this ancient sea science in a ceremony called “unfolding the mat” by arranging 32 lumps of coral to represent the points of his “star compass.”

Thor Heyerdahl thought Polynesia was settled from South America by voyagers who drifted aboard primitive rafts like Kon Tiki, pushed along by prevailing winds and currents. But he was wrong. The Navigators follows archeologists working on the Tahitian island of Huahine, in Fiji and Hawaii as they prove that Polynesia’s settlers forced their way against the winds and currents from Island Southeast Asia aboard large seaworthy double-hulled canoes. In a dramatic demonstration, Mau Piailug guides a replica of such a vessel, Hokule’a, from Hawaii to Tahiti – 2500 miles across the ocean without benefit of sextant, compass, or any other Western navigational instrument.

The Navigators is the story of courageous seafarers who sailed across ten million square miles of empty ocean.

“A beautifully photographed, carefully organized program…” Boston Herald.

“… a fine documentary which describes the exploration and settlement of ancient Polynesia by navigated voyages more than a thousand years ago – six centuries before Columbus discovered America.”  San Francisco Chronicle.

“The navigators, combining first-rate cinematography with an accurate portrayal of the most recent findings in Polynesian archeology and anthropology, brings the saga of their Polynesian voyagers alive.”  Dr. Patrick Kirch, Anthropology Department, U C Berkeley.