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Voyages in the Southern Hemisphere, Vols. II - IIIVoyaging Accounts
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James Cook
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Manufactures, Boats, and Navigation (continued)

As connected with the navigation of these people, I shall mention their wonderful sagacity in foretelling the weather, at least the quarter from which the wind shall blow at a future time; they have several ways of doing this, of which however I know but one. They say, that the Milky-way is always curved laterally; but sometimes in one direction, and sometimes in another: and that this curvature is the effect of its being already acted upon by the wind, and its hollow part therefore towards it; so that, if the same curvature continues a night, a corresponding wind certainly blows the next day. Of their rules, I shall not pretend to judge; but I know that, by whatever means, they can predict the weather, at least the wind, with much greater certainty than we can.

In their longer voyages, they steer by the sun in the day, and in the night by the stars; all of which they distinguish separately by names, and know in what part of the heavens they will appear in any of the months during which they are visible in their horizon; they also know the time of their annual appearing and disappearing with more precision than will easily be believed by an European astronomer.


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© Derived from Vols. II-III of the London 1773 edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, page 226, 2004
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To cite this page use: http://nla.gov.au/nla.cs-ss-jrnl-hv23-227