Wave Piloting is the ancient art of the indigeneous people of Oceania to use (swell) wave information to navigate between remote islands. In June 2015 I participated in a field trip in the Marshall islands to study this art. This project was initiated by the University of Hawaii (Joe Genz) and supported by the National Geographic. Other participants are John Huth of Harvard University and Gerbrant van Vledder of Delft University. A presentation on this subject has been given at the IAHR 2015 Congress, June/July 2015, The Hague, The Netherlands.
The purpose of this research trip was to understand the traditional way of navigating between remote island and to attemp to model the wave phenomena using the wave models SWAN and SWASH of TU Delft. Spectral partitioning and wave-island interactions are key elements of this research. Swell wave climate information is provided by BMT ARGOSS' global implementation of the Wavewatch III model
Follow my Wave Adventures on https://gerbrant.weblog.tudelft.nl
A cover story in the New York Times Magazine appeared on 20 March 2016. You can find this article by following the link: secrets_of_the Wave Pilots
On June 19 and 20, 2017 our team met at the Radcliffe Institute, Cambrigde, MA to discuss our research efforts and to plan for futher investigations. Our aim, and dream, is to provide scientific support for the revival of the traditional way of sailing in the Marshall Islands and to train a new generation of navigators.
In April-May 2018 I will continue my research in the Marshall Islands and visit the University of Hawaii. The aim is to study wave navigation and wave piloting from first hand. This study is part of a longer term project to understand, document and preserve wave piloting, and to support the development of renewable transport in collaboration with the Okeanos foundation. For this research external support is greatly appreaciated.
Please send me an email if you are interested supporting my research and/or in a lecture on Wave Piloting in the Marshall Islands.