This is a traditional Carolinian proa under full sail in Apra Harbor, Guam. I took this picture a few weeks ago from the bow of a small power boat.
My next book, once the last novel in the fantasy trilogy is finished this summer, will be about this--an adventure novel, maybe for young adults, and concerning the skill and courage it takes to sail a delicate craft such as this across hundreds--even thousands--of miles of open ocean using only the stars and wave patterns to navigate. It was in such vessels that the original island peoples spread themselves across the Pacific from Southeast Asia three or four thousand years ago.
This proa, or canoe, is made pretty much from traditional materials: a hand-hewn breadfruit log for the hull and no nails, screws, or bolts. Instead, it is lashed and sewn together using tuna cord. Sailing a proa for days or weeks at a time between far-flung islands requires a navigator of consumate skill and the ability to tolerate great discomfort and fatigue. In this photograph, the man on the stern steering the proa is Manny Sikau, a seventh generation master navigator from Puluwat. His father, in fact, built this canoe. As a thirteen year old boy, Manny once sailed a canoe similar to this from Puluwat to Guam, a distance of some five hundred miles, with his grandfather. Again, they found their way without a compass, without charts, without a sextant. There are things in this world that people accomplish that defy belief and such voyages must be included in that category.