Thursday, 17 January 2008

Chapter Eight - The First Ocean Voyagers

[Photograph by Fosco Maraini, from his book, Hekura, The Diving Girl's Island, of a Ama going out to sea on boat.]

If we take the Aquatic Ape, the mermaid myths, the modern knowledge of the sea gypsies and the ama and haenyo divers seriously, then we can say that people have been living on the sea for millions of years. Scientific dogma claims that the first Man only reached America 12 thousand years ago. They of course took the land route, when there was dry land in the Bering Straits, between Siberia and Alaska at the ending of the last ice age. The problem is that there is more and more evidence that there were people living in America long before 12 thousand years ago. This creates a problem. If this was so, these people would have had to reach America by sea. This would mean that before 12 thousand years ago there were people who could cross either the Pacific or Atlantic Oceans, in some form of boat, raft or canoe. Why this has to be a big problem is a mystery. Without labouring the point too much, the Stone-Age Polynesians did manage to sail across the Pacific. And if it is right that they did originally come from South East Asia, and did manage to get across the Pacific to Hawaii, then what is the problem of their going the whole way to America? The problem would be that according to official history the Polynesians first settled Hawaii as late as 1,000 years ago, so the Polynesian would have nothing to do with the first people traveling to America.

The difficulty is that there is some evidence that the Polynesians were not the first people to settle on Pacific islands. Archaeologists discovered on these islands some evidence of a culture older than the Polynesians. This is what the whole Kon Tiki expedition was about; Thor Heyerdahl wasn’t trying to prove that only the Polynesians originally came from America, as many people believe, but a race older than the Polynesians had made the crossing. And just to make this more controversial it seems these ancient people were Caucasians. For this Heyerdahl has been accused of being a racist, but he has good reason for thinking this, because it seems the first people living in Japan and Taiwan were also Caucasians. Ancient graves of Caucasians were also found in China and now it seems also in America! Unfortunately because of national pride the Japanese and Chinese do not like any mention of ancient Caucasian people once living in their counties even though they still exist in both Japan and Taiwan. As usual, racial prejudice along with sexual prejudice makes it hard to get a clear idea of the true history of human kind.

In America there are now a number of archaeological sites that show human inhabitation before 12,000 years. In normal circumstances there wouldn’t be a problem with these sites but because scientific dogma claims that human beings didn’t come to America before 12,000 years then all these excavations are disputed.

At Santa Barbara, California, the bones of a woman were found on the Channel Islands just off the California coastline. This find over 40 years ago was recently dated to 13,000 years ago. This made the find very controversial because not only were the bones older than 12,000 years but evidence indicated that people then had watercraft in which to get out to the islands.

In Quebrada Jaguay, Peru, tools, hearths, food remains and potholes found in fishing site, dated to 13,000 years old
Monte Verde, Chile, human artefacts and stone tools and a shelter covered in a Mastodon hide has been discovered, dated to 14,000 years ago
At Wisconsin, butchered Mammoth bones with stone tools have been found dated to 14,500 years ago.
These three finds are now being accepted by orthodox scientists, and some are now accepting that perhaps people came across the Bering Land Bridge as early as 14,000 years ago. The problem with this is that 12,000 years ago was a time when Alaska and Canada was reasonably ice- free. If the date of 14,000 years ago is accepted then people travelling this route would have to travel over ice. This doesn’t have to be a big problem as the Eskimos do it all the time. The trouble is that there are other sites that are considerably older than this.

At Meadowcroft, Pennsylvania, stone-age tools have been discovered that are between 17,500 to 25,000 years old.

At Cactus Hill, Virginia, stone artefacts and plant and animal remains dated to 18,000 years ago.
At Valsequillo, Mexico, 164 human footprints have been discovered dated to 40,000 years ago.
At Pedra Furada, Brazil, tools and a camp-fire found in a rock shelter dated to 50,000 years ago.
Topper, South Carolina, stone objects, believed to be made by humans, dated 50,000 years ago.
Now these finds are very, very controversial and the archaeologists who have made these finds are given a hard time by the more orthodox establishment. But the controversy doesn't stop there; ancient bones have been discovered that are not from Asian people.

Kennewick, Washington State, a skull 10,700 years old that is longer and narrower than today’s Native American. It is claimed that the skull is Caucasian and may come from the original inhabitants of Japan or Taiwan.

Penon, Mexico, a skull of a woman was found, again longer and narrower than present day Native Americans, date 13,000 years ago making it the oldest human skull found in America. Again she had a Caucasian skull unlike that of Native Americans; it is claimed her skull is like present day Europeans.

But the most controversial find was made at Luzia, Brazil; a female skull dated 11,500 to 12,500 years ago was discovered, with features resembling an Australian Aborigine. So the mystery is; how did Australian Aborigines travel across the Pacific to South America? It has been suggested that people drifted there by accident. Now this is not as implausible as it first sounds. It would be possible to drift from Australia to South America.

As previously pointed out, when the first white settlers went to Tasmania, they found Aboriginal women diving for shellfish. It is true they were diving from rocks and there is no record of diving from boats, but it is known that Aborigines on the mainland did use dugout canoes. The experience from ama and haenyo divers is that they will dive from rocks but when necessary will use either rafts or boats. There is always a danger of a strong off shore wind beginning to blow as they are working, which would push the canoe or raft out to sea. It is true they would be good swimmers but even for strong swimmers, swimming against the wind and waves is very difficult. So they could be blown out to sea. If they get into the ocean currents they will find themselves drifting to New Zealand. There is in New Zealand, already a controversy whether the Maoris were the first people in New Zealand, as archeologists have found signs of human occupation that dates before the Maoris got there. Also some of Maori folklore states this as well. They could also return to Tasmania the same way because the same current will take them back in a vast circle around the Tasman Sea. If they settled in New Zealand and traveled off shore on the East coast of New Zealand then they would likewise end up in America. As the South Pacific currents would take them there and likewise they could also travel back to New Zealand using the same current, which also goes in a vast circle. If Asian people wiped out Australian Aborigines in America, then the same thing could of happened in New Zealand when the Maoris first came. The trouble with this theory is that it is 13,500 kilometers or 8,450 miles from Australia to South America, so it could take many months to drift all this way. How would these Aboriginals survive months at sea with little food and no fresh water? The answer could be that being women divers they would have the knowledge to survive at sea.

[Femme au Coquillage (Woman with Seashell), William Bouguereau 1885]

Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.

These are the words of the famous Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem; The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. We are all taught that it is fatal to drink salt water if we are shipwrecked and have to survive in a lifeboat. No one questioned this belief until Thor Heyerdahl, whose theory was confirmed by the work of Dr. Alain Louis Bombard, a French Marine biologist, and physician.

In 1951 while working in a hospital in Boulogne Dr. Bombard  had to attend to the aftermath of a Shipwreck. A trawler sank in bad weather outside the harbour, and although 43 bodies were brought to the hospital they failed to save a single case. This experience affected him so much he began to study the best way to improve survival chances following a maritime disaster. He began to study the reports of shipwrecks, interviewed survivors and discovered the main cause of death was dehydration. He decided that was the most important problem he had to solve. Reading medical literature, he was surprised to discover that the kidneys in the human body were able to cope with drinking salt-water. It was true, that too much salt could overwhelm the kidneys and do them permanent damage, but if salt-water was drunk in small quantities and this was done before the body became dehydrated, then drinking salt-water was possible. Doing this for more than seven days, however, would finally damage the kidneys. Shipwrecked sailors have had bad experiences with drinking salt-water because they do it as a last resort.

He then discovered that fresh fish contained within them between 50% and 80% usable water, which was salt-free. So like Thor Heyerdahl he found that fresh water could be squeezed out of freshly caught fish. Through further research he also discovered that plankton contained Vitamin C and could be obtained by scooping it up from the ocean with a fine mesh.

The irony of this is that the scourge of sailors, scurvy, caused by Vitamin C deficiency, could have been cured if they had known this. Knowledge like this was probably possessed by the ancient sea people but was forgotten when the people from the land took over sailing the seas and oceans.
Bombard then decided to see if he could test these theories in practice. He managed to find a rubber boat and on 25th May 1952, with an Englishman called Jack Palmer he tried to cross the Mediterranean Sea, without using the rations of food and water that they carried. They set out from Monaco and Bombard began drinking saltwater from the sea from the first day, Palmer didn’t have the same confidence and declined to do the same. They managed to catch a few fish and squeezed a small amount of water from them. Palmer then began to try drinking small amounts of saltwater. Together they weathered storms but on the 7th June they met a French vessel which gave them food and water. Finally, on the 11 June they made it to the island of Minorca; they had travelled 1,000 miles and spent 17 days at sea without using their emergency supplies.

Bombard felt the voyage had been a great success and proved his point, yet the media disagreed. He was attacked for accepting food and water from a French ship and so fierce was the criticism of him that his sponsor dropped out. Undeterred he found a new sponsor and decided to cross the Atlantic. Palmer didn’t want to go, so Bombard decided to go on his own.

He sailed to the Canaries in another rubber raft, from Casablanca, but again the reaction from the press was still unfavourable. He continued across the Atlantic, living on fish and plankton, and continued to keep himself hydrated by drinking seawater and squeezing water out of fish. He also collected rainwater when he could. He suffered from sores, constipation and rashes and his boat sprung a leak through friction against one of the floats, which he had to repair at sea. He also had to endure visits from sharks and storms. Finally after 63 days at sea he made it to the Caribbean and showed it was possible to sail right across the Atlantic without carrying food or water and living totally off the ocean. Yet even today many scientists still dispute his claim that you can live off the sea by drinking seawater, and say doing this is dangerous, but this is only true if a person doesn’t understand the correct way to do this.

Bombard himself admits you have to know what you are doing. A person has to start drinking seawater before they are dehydrated, and only drink seawater in small quantities at a time. Also a person cannot do this forever and will need to drink some unsalted water after a week of drinking seawater.
What his voyage shows clearly is why the Polynesians were able to cross the Pacific Ocean in canoes that wouldn’t be able to carry too much food and water. It also shows the possibility that sea-people crossed the Atlantic Ocean thousands of years before Columbus, simply by living off the sea.

[Photograph by Fosco Maraini of ama diver, from.-]

This is something similar to what happened when the first white people began to explore the Australian outback. They did this at first using camels and carrying all the food and water they needed. The Burke and Wills expedition was an example of this.In 1860 the Government of South Australia offered a prize to the first expedition to cross the Australian continent from south to north. Robert O’Hara Burke and William John Wills took up this challenge, and with 18 people, 25 camels, 22 horses and a 2-year supply of food, they set out from Melbourne on 20 August 1860. They made it to the Gulf of Carpentaria on the North coast of Australia but both leaders of the expedition died of hunger and thirst on the way back. The irony was that that Aboriginal people in the area tried to help them and gave them food, but Burke didn’t trust them and chased them away by firing his rifle at them.
Because of the great problems in trying to carry enough food and water with them over the vast area of Australia, later white explorers learnt from the Aboriginals how to live off the land, and how to find and water in the dry Australian outback.

The same is true of the “dash for the South pole” in the early 20th century between Robert Scott and Gravning Amundsen. The Norwegian expedition led by Amundsen was first to reach the South Pole while the expedition led by Captain Scott got there a month later and the explorers all died on the way back. Many commentators have portrayed Scott as an incompetent fool, but this is unfair. Captain Scott led the first fully equipped scientific expedition to the Antarctic; there was nothing wrong in the way it was organised. The big difference was that Gravning Amundsen had previously spent two years living with the Eskimos or Inuit people. From them he learnt how to live in the wilderness of ice and snow. The scientific knowledge and well thought out planning of the Scott expedition, was no match for the thousands of years of knowledge gained by the Inuit people living in the harsh conditions of the Arctic.

The same is also true of the maritime experiences of European sailors over the last two thousand years. The knowledge and way of life of the ancient sea-people was destroyed and ignored, so sailors sailed into the oceans with no knowledge of how to live off the sea itself. This is why they had to build ships large enough to carry all their food and water with them. Unfortunately they didn’t have the technology or knowledge of how to prevent food from spoiling and they ended up eating poor quality food lacking the vital nutrient of Vitamin C, which resulted in scurvy. Knowledge is vitally important for sailors using wooden sailing ships. The sea people of South East Asia live in an area of both typhoons and tsunamis yet their local knowledge from thousands of generations of experience keep them safe. As previously mentioned, in the recent tsunami in the Indian Ocean in Dec. 26, 2004, no sea people were drowned simply because they saw the signs beforehand which even local fishermen didn’t see. The sea people who once lived in and around the coast of Europe, Africa, America and other parts of the world may have had similar intimate knowledge of the sea, but that knowledge has been destroyed.

Thor Heyerdahl and Dr. Alain Bombard have rediscovered some of the secrets of the ancient sea people, but it would be a mistake to think they have worked them all out. There are still sea-people living in South East Asia but they understandably don’t trust outsiders, and the governments of the area are making attempts to ‘educate’ them and bring them into the modern world. So all their knowledge and ancient ways are in danger of being lost forever.
It means it would be very possible for ancient sea people to cross either deliberately or by accident the biggest ocean in the world. Aboriginals could drift for many months on a raft or canoe all the way from Australia to South America. To populate America it would require some women to be included, and possibly multiple voyages.
There is also the possibility of Aboriginals sailing all the way to America. The Melanesian people who are the same race as the Australian Aboriginals, populate many Pacific islands. So like the Polynesians the Melanesians are capable of sailing and navigating across the Pacific Ocean. If they sailed east past New Zealand they would find themselves within the prevailing winds and ocean currents that go towards South America, in a great circle taking them south in a southerly route to America. The question would be; did they do this 10 – 50 thousand years ago? Many orthodox scientists would dispute this but there is no reason not to think this. We cannot assume that people 50,000 years ago were more stupid than people today. Also if we take the Aquatic Ape theory seriously then we have to accept human beings had knowledge of living in the sea going back millions of years.

So if Australian Aboriginals managed to settle in America long before anyone else. What happened to them? The standard explanation is that the incoming invaders from Asia simply wiped them out. This certainly happened in Australia where white settlers practiced genocide against the Aboriginals. Yet another explanation is that the incoming invaders assimilated them.
The Aboriginal people of Australia and of Melanesia all practice birth control. The reason is that on islands and in a country like Australia, where food resources are limited, overpopulation would be a disaster. The incoming invaders may not have had the same concerns and continued to breed out of control. The Aboriginals may have been assimilated and overwhelmed by the increasing numbers of the new invaders. It has been speculated that the people of Terra del Fuego, were a mixture of Asian and Aboriginal people. Then there is the problem of the Kennewick man and Penon woman. What were white people doing living in America over 10,000 years ago? This is only a problem if we think of human beings as being landlubbers. It is not a problem if we think of human beings as aquatic. 10,000 years ago there would have been sea-people along the coast of Europe; they would have been far less afraid of the oceans than mariners in more recent times, because they knew how to live on the sea. So sailing across the Atlantic in even very primitive sailing craft would be far less a problem to them than for people at the time of Columbus. This is because by this time, the knowledge of the ancient sea people had been destroyed and forgotten. There is no reason why the sea people of Europe couldn’t have discovered America and settled there.
The same is true of the sea-people of Africa. An alternative explanation is that the ancestors of Luzia woman didn’t come from Australia but Africa instead. This is because the Australian Aboriginals are similar to some African tribes. It has also been pointed out that between Brazil and the Congo is the shortest distance across the Atlantic, though I doubt if this is that important. The point is that the sea-people of Africa, like the sea-people of Europe, would be at home living off the Ocean and therefore long Ocean journeys wouldn’t be a problem for them. If this is true it could solve a problem about the Olmec people. In Central America very large carved heads have been discovered. The problem is that these heads do not show the Asiatic features of most Native Americans but show instead the large lips and flattened noses of African people. The Olmec civilization existed between 1500 to 100 BC and predates the Maya civilization; the carvings they left behind of themselves suggest they were African.
Now this is a very controversial point. Were the Africans capable of starting their own civilization? There is evidence that Africans, like any other race, were eminently capable of doing this. In the 19th century European explorers discovered the ancient ruins of a city built of stone called Zimbabwe. The Europeans assumed that another race built it because they didn’t think the local Africans could construct a city like this. At first they speculated it was the legendary city of Ophir, the site of King Solomon’s mines. This belief resulted in a treasure hunt during which the whole site was dug up in the search for gold. As nothing came of this, it was then assumed that the Phoenician, Greek, or Egyptians must have built it. But no artifacts of other civilizations were discovered on the site, so the only possibility was that Africans built it. Unfortunately the treasure hunters had destroyed the archaeology of the site, but archaeologist Gertrude Caton-Thompson managed to find stone structures outside of the city that hadn’t been dug-up by the treasure hunters and this confirmed that the buildings were constructed by Africans,
Large stone structures have also been discovered in Ethiopia and the Sudan, also built by Africans. There is also a controversy about the original Egyptian civilization. European scholars and archaeologists assume that the original Egyptians were white people but many African scholars are contesting this, claiming they were black Africans.
It means that black Africans were more than capable of crossing the Atlantic and constructing cities made of stone. But if that is the case what happened to them? Did the Asiatic Americans also wipe them out?Another explanation could be that they didn’t go anywhere and they still live in America. It is known that the South American people are a hybrid race, a mixture of Asian, European, and African peoples, and it is assumed that this mixture only happened after the Spanish and Portuguese conquest. But it could be that this mixture already existed before European settlers and Conquistadors reached America. The Spanish have reported meeting both white and black people when they first conquered South America.

Conventional archeology is still claiming that humans did not exist in America later 13,000 years ago, but there is now evidence that suggest that humans were living in American much earlier than this, as we can see from the following web-sites. -

40,000 year old footprints found in Mexico

New Evidence Puts humans In North America 50,000 Years Ago
ScienceDaily (Nov. 18, 2004)

A human habitation site in Brazil, dated 48-32,000 BP\

Ice Age Columbus - Who Were the First Americans? Film on Youtube.

Traditional history tells us that European settlers discovered America about the time of the Renaissance. But revolutionary new archaeological data and the latest DNA research reveal that Europeans visited our shores far earlier some 17,000 years before Columbus was even born.

Evidence that the Polynesians travelled to Peru and took the sweet potato  to the Pacific islands long before the Europeans. 

Clues to Prehistoric Human Exploration Found in Sweet Potato Genome

For an alternative view of history from a African point of view, and the contact between Africa and America before Columbus, go to. -






Boabab Tree Northern Australia.

So if early Africans travelled to America across the Atlantic, could they also travel across the Indian ocean to Australia as well? There is evidence that they may have done this.

There is a great mystery about the Baobab tree. It seems it is a native of Madagascar which has six species there is another species in Africa which may have been introduced by humans, and bizarrely there is another species in Australia.

Now it seems that the Boabab tree is very important for humans living in a hot climate, as it is a continuous source of food and water. People can bore a hole into the baobab tree trunk, take out the soft, wet fibres and squeeze water out of them. The hollowed out tree trunk then collects water which humans can continue to use. Sometimes the centre of the tree dies naturally and a useable water reservoir is formed. Baobab trees are known to store up to 1000 gallons of drinkable water. Not only that the Baobab tree’s leaves and fruit are both eatable. For this reason it is known as the Tree Of Life and the native people of Madagascar call it the "mother of the forest". So clearly it is a good idea to grow a tree like this in a place like Australia where there is a shortage of water.

The problem is that how did the Baobab tree get from Africa or Madagascar to Australia? To explain this there are three theories.

1 Baobab’s dropped their seeds in the ocean in Africa and the wind and currents took them to Australia where they took root and grew. Now, it is known that this happens with Coconuts but they are a species of tree that can grow on a beach and is not affected by salt water. Baobab trees do not grow on the beach but grow inland, it is true they might drop their seeds in a river which would take them to the ocean, but even if they managed to travel all the way to Australia, and was washed up on an Australian beach, they are very unlikely to geminate and grow on a beach, in the way Coconut trees can do. To get around this, it has been suggested that once these seeds were washed up on an Australian beach birds ate it and the seeds were later dropped by the birds inland. The only problem with this is that birds do not normally disperse Baobab seeds.  The only animals seen to eat Baobab seeds are Lemurs, monkeys, apes and humans. Also we don’t know of any other tree or plant that has travelled all the way from Africa to Australia in this manner. So the whole speculation is very unlikely.

2 The second theory is that early humans took Baobab seeds from Africa all away along the coast to Australia. Now it is unlikely that any person would carry baobab seeds with them on foot, in a journey of about 8,000 miles, along the coast and only grow them when they reach Australia. They would surely grow these seeds along the way. As it is very unlikely that early people travelled all the way from Africa to Australia in one generation. It could of taken hundreds or even thousands of years, and in this time the Baobab seed would have died. To be fair, there are Baobab trees in India and Vietnam, but they are not very numerous and haven’t been established in the same way they have in Australia, and are the same as the African species. For this reason it is assumed that they are more recent and probably Arab traders planted these trees. So the Baobab trees in India and Vietnam are not as old as they are in Australia, which are so ancient that they are now a separate species from the African Baobab. This suggests it is unlikely that early people from Africa planted them along the route from Africa to Australia.

3 The third theory is that human seafarers took Baobab seeds from Africa and travelled all the way to Australia by boat and planted them in Australia. The problem with this theory is that this must of happened thousands of years ago, because the Baobab tree is very slow growing and can live for a thousand years or more. Also as previously mentioned, the Baobab tree is well established in the North West of Australia and the Australian species is now a separate species to the African species. In other words, it has lived so long in Australia that it has had time to adapt to Australian conditions. So it couldn’t have arrive in Australia recently and would have probably got there 50,000 years ago when the first humans arrived in Australia. Which suggests that human beings could have been travelling the oceans as early as 50,000 years ago.

Boabab seeds make the perfect food for ocean travel. They keep for a very long time without going mouldy, and they are very rich in Vitamin C, and as we know Scurvy caused by vitamin C deficiency was the big problem for European sailors when first began to sail the oceans. So it makes sense for any experience early sailors to take Boabab seeds with them on a journey from Africa to Australia and if they have any seeds left over after the voyage, to plant them in the new land. Or even to just throw them away where they would germinate on the ground. So the existence of the Boabob tree in Australia does point to very early ocean voyages by human beings.

Seahenge discovered on a Norfolk (England) beach in 1998 is a timber circle that is dated as 4,000 years old. What is so strange about this site, is that, in the centre of the circle was a large inverted oak stump. No one has an explanation for this.

Now the Baobab Tree is known in Africa, Madagascar and Australia as the "upside down Tree". The reason for this, is that the branches of the baobab tree look very much like the root system of other trees. So is this, the explain for Seahenge? People 4,000 years ago were attempting to create a Baobab tree, but magical means.
If we accept that marine trade was commonplace in pre-historic times then trade between Africa and England would be more than likely. And probably one of the things the African traders would trade is the Boabab fruit. If that happened then some people in England would take some of the fruit and plant it to grow their own Baobab Trees. Unfortunately this didn't work out, as the English climate was too cold for the Baobab Tree.

So some enterprising people attempted to create their own Baabab from a local tree by simply turning it upside down. They may of tried this previously but it didn't work, so they created a magical timber circle and attempted to make it work through magical means. So the Seahenge circle points to sea trade between Africa and England 4,000 years ago.

[Photograph by Fosco Maraini, from his book, Hekura, The Diving Girl's Island, of a Ama on boat preparing to dive.]

Latest research in the Philippines, have found a human bone, 67,000 years old.

Early humans followed the coast. 

African coins found in Australia.

Humans in America 60 thousand years ago