calm sailing, or not

You say they navigate how?

He describes seafarers from the island of Puluwat in the South Pacific who navigate the open ocean using subtle swell patterns.

Interestingly, the Puluwatese say the best way to monitor swells is with the testicles, which are exquisitely sensitive to the movements of the boat. [via NYTimes]

Wikimapia adds these snippets, more about the balls of Puluwat.

The atoll and the island are named the same; Puluwat.

The men here are the most aggressive and toughest amongst the Micronesians. The contest of manhood here is to grasp hands and then to cut your own forearm with your machete. Your opponent then makes a larger or deeper cut in his own arm. Alternating turns back and forth until the lesser man lets go of his opponent. Some of these guys carry horrible self inflicted scars on their arms.

Be courteous and firm but don’t try to tell these guys what to do.

And more on navigating the soft, the warm and the wet.

The wayfinder, with no mathematical model wedged between him and his environs, concentrates 100% of his attention on his place in the sea and sky.

With this one-pointedness, he processes all of his data on his course, speed, the current, etc.

Instructions for psychologically locating one’s piko and for staying centered there have been passed down through the centuries in chants.

The technology of wayfinding is the patterns of nature, and these patterns reach to the stars.

This is considered the center of one’s body and being, so that it–not the brain–is the point from which to live. [via¬†passengerplanet.com “softwarm.html”]

Sounds Greek to me.