Imagine setting sail from Hawaii in a canoe. Your target is a small island thousands of kilometers away in the middle of the Pacific Ocean — a body of water that covers more than 160 million square kilometers. For thousands of years, Polynesian navigators managed voyages like this without the help of modern navigational aids. How did they do it?

Studying celestial bodies, birds, the wind, clouds, ocean currents and wave patterns provided ancient Polynesian wayfinders with vital information that helped them navigate the Pacific. See how in this animated TED-Ed lesson by Alan Tamayose and Shantell De Silva.

Related news: Polynesian canoe welcomed back to Hawaii after three-year 19-country voyage without modern navigation and Fantastic Voyage: Polynesian Seafaring Canoe Completes Its Globe-Circling Journey.

Follow this vid with Slingshots of the Oceanic.

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