David Lewis

Dr David Lewis, a New Zealand physician and ANU scholar, became an authority on indigenous navigation in the Pacific. He sailed a catamaran from Tahiti to New Zealand to study the Polynesian star navigation system. Lewis had learned from traditional navigators like Hipour (of Puluwat atoll in Micronesia) and Tevake (of Taumako Island of the eastern end of the Solomon Islands).

This led him to sail with the Prahu Captains of Indonesia (1979-1980), the Santa Cruz Islands in Melanesia and to the Caroline Islands in Micronesia. Lewis conducted a number of long distance voyages using the techniques he had learned from them. Lewis became well known for his incredible sailing exploits, which included a voyage from Sydney to the Antarctic. His book We, the Navigators is still the most complete book about Pacific navigation.ulation work was added to twenty years later concerning the origins of the coconut palm and its establishment in the Americas. Drawing on an earlier piece with Bryant Allen on floating coconuts, the research used a simulation of Pacific Ocean currents and winds to conclude that coconuts were most unlikely to have drifted across the Pacific. Human dispersal of this coastal plant was more probable.