There is much in your post to discuss so here's hope I do it it justice.
"What first provoked their curiosity?"
Peoples earthwide appear to have been in a transitory state since the beginning. If we could look at the expulsion from the garden of Eden as an example,(only) mankind is always looking for the life lost. Mankind would immediately have became immersed into the stone age, having to learn how to make fire to eat. Perhaps it is hope for pastures greener but there is definitely enormous repressed memories and a state of amnesia about us all, I think.
Looking at the peoples of the earth today we can surely say that displacement by some kind of catastrophe is the main driving force of current mass migrations. In the last 500 years this has been the cause and effect of said colonialism, wars and climate change. This movement has been unprecendented as we are the result of the deliberate displacement of 90% of Indigenous populations. Yet, we can see throughout the history of the earth that displacement has been ever present, e.g. the drying up of what is now the Sahara causing great movements of settled people east, west, north and south. Atlantis,a major catastrophe... where did they go?
Yes, colonial education was very one minded, but fortunately I suddenly woke up in 3rd year high school and began to see the hypocracy. Anyway we are all on the same journey of finding how and why and wherefrom. I have truly taken on board your thoughts of the Olmec travelling across the Pacific as it explains alot e.g. Vanuatu and Micronesia. The Portugese I have just learned mapped and named Papua.
I am certain that they were not the first, meaning the most successful ancient mariners. BUT when they built the Caravel and sailed down the African coast looking for the "spice Islands" and sailed up into the Congo, found the heart of Africa that signified the end of Paradise for the Indigenous.
What was this? Not just greed surely? As one of our favourite posters said, "Even the europeans once were indigenous". Could they not bear to see Peoples living in harmony, settled. Had they just through their own trauma/psychosis found this harmony unbearable?
Unfortunately I have not yet come across "What the beep?" so will look it up.
As for a worldwide flood, if we look at the earth's water capacity, it might seem probable.
71% of the earth is covered in water of 91.3% is oceans, the volume of which increases @ one cubic metre per year, average depth is 4 kms (2.5 miles), deepest part is Marina Trench in the Pacific which is 6.8 miles dep, Mt Everest is only 5.5 mile high.
Getting back to the Pacific, we know that it can be easily crossed by a reed raft,and now on the news a 14 year old Dutch girl has been given permission by the Dutch court to sail solo around the world. So it can be done.
Weather patterns in the Pacific are controlled by the "El Nino and la Nina" effects. So when we have drought here, Chile has floods and vis versa.
My favourite website a ce moment is this pictorial one from the South Pacific so it will give me a visual reference to the artifacts left by the Olmecs for sure:
Photos Imagesud: banque de photos des pays de Sud
But this too is a must watch:
SBS television "The First Australians: They came to stay"
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