27 Jan 2009

German expedition to sail in traditional catamarans from Philippines to Solomon islands

12:28 pm on 27 January 2009

A German expedition to sail in traditional catamarans from the Philippines to Anuta in the Solomon islands is now entering its final stages.

The crews are taking two twin-hull canoes down the ancient Polynesian migration route -- the first such vessels to do so in modern times.

Ben Lowings has been monitoring the expedition's progress.

"According to the latest satellite information, the Lapita fleet has now crossed into Solomon Islands' waters. The catamarans reached Mono in the Treasury Islands after sailing down the eastern side of the Philippines, along the northern coast of New Guinea and over the top of New Britain. They are now well over half way into the six-thousand kilometre trip. The boats will be donated to the people of Tikopia and Anuta at the end of the voyage. Organisers hope the vessels will enable the locals in Tikopia and Anuta to visit neighbouring islands more frequently. The hospital and boarding school in Lata is three hundred kilometres away from Anuta. The expedition also aims to encourage further traditional boat-building and deep-sea fishing in Anuta and Tikopia."