Dramatic finish for Tangaroa

07.08.2006 @ 14:25
strand_400.jpg
At 6 pm Sunday 30. July Tangaroa arrived at the harbour of Papeete, 24 hours after the estimated time of arrival. At the last stretch the raft was in for a rough treatment by the tow boat which moved too fast for the ideal pace of the raft. Just before arrival at the harbour, with heavy current towards the raft, the sea entered on board with great force and the whole cabin and all the electronic equipment was under water. In spite of this incident the equipment seems to have survived without damages.

Around 1000 people participated in the reception of the raft. The program, which had been planned for a long time, was touching, and we were relieved that everything had passed according to our plans. 93 days after the raft left the bay of Callao in Peru we could set our feet on steady ground in Tahiti in French Polynesia – the final destination of the expedition!

A very proud Thor Heyerdahl Jr. greeted his youngest son Olav in Papeete. “It has been no less than an extraordinary accomplishment what these men have done” he said. “The expedition has been planned and carried out in a manner that has exceeded all expectations, and I know that my father would have been very proud if had lived to experience this.”


The Tangaroa expedition entered land for the first time as early as 8. July on Raroia, the atoll where Kon-Tiki ended its voyage in 1947. At that point Tangaroa had sailed the same distance exactly one month faster than Kon-Tiki, and by doing this proved the improved sailing and manoeuvering abilities. On Raroia we were met by locals in a warm and touching way. All the islands inhabitants participated, and we could see with our own eyes the exact spot where Kon-Tiki was thrown ashore. The crossing between the islands in the Tuamoto group was one of the toughest challenges as far as manoeuvering the raft was concerned. The wind and the currents changed constantly, and we had to make sure we had sufficient space on each side to stay safe when the wind changed direction.

Experts on Polynesia strongly advised us to pass Tahiti and move on to the island of Raiatea, the ancient cultural and religious centre in the Pacific Ocean, where we arrived 24. July. In the ancient temple ruin Marae Taputapuatea, where more than 1000 people joined in a two hour long program including traditional rituals.

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