Kontiki2 rafts en route to Rapa Nui
Two traditional rafts that have set off on a round-trip from Peru to Rapa Nui in the name of science and history could be on the water for over four months.
Two traditional rafts that have set off on a round-trip from Peru to Rapa Nui in the name of science and history, could be on the water for over four months.
The Kontiki2 expedition is named after the original Kontiki which sailed from South America to the Tuamotu islands in 1947.
Chief Technology Officer Hakon Lie says they hope to show how both ancient Polynesians and South Americans traveled the route centuries ago.
He told Koro Vaka'uta rafts will also be collecting scientific data.
TUPAC YUPANQUI: We are looking for plastics in the ocean for example, we are trying to sea if climate change has reached the Southern Pacific. We are going to measure temperature, salinity, oxygen levels many factors that scientists are very interested in. We bring with us lots of scientific instruments on a very very traditional raft that is what we believe the incas would have sailed 500 years ago.
KORO VAKAUTA: What is the expected duration of this journey?
TY: We are heading towards Easter Island we are not going straight there because the Humboldt Current takes us northwards. We expect to cross the Humbolt Current in a day or two though and then we will be able to set sail more directly towards Easter Islands. So with these winds we should be there before Christmas. When we get there we will turn the raft back around and head back towards South America that will be a longer journey because then we have to go further south to find the roaring forties that will give us the winds and the current to take us eastwards. I think two months will be used for that stretch.
KV: You have got quite a broad scope if you like from the expedition you must have a large team or a varied team on board?
TY: We actually have two rafts that are sailing in parallel. In total 14 people, these are being carefully chosen for, there is many things you have to think about when you put together an expedition you want to have good sailors, you want to have a good cook or two, you want to have scientists on board. You want to have people that are cheerful and contribute to the general well being of things and you want a swimmer or two who can help rescue in the worst case scenario.
KV: Documenting climate change, marine life, plastics, pollution, human reactions that sort of thing what have you been able to observe so far on the expedition?
TY: One beautiful sunset, we had clear skies last night and we took some fantastic pictures of one raft sailing off into the sunset and then we had a starry night so that has been a very positive experience on a sort of a personal level. We have also started sampling for plastics we threw in the Manta Trawl which is a trawler that we trawl behind the raft. Rafts are perfect as platforms for scientific instruments because we move slowly in water, much slower than a normal boat. So we are trawling for plastics we found pieces, we are analysing them and we are also putting it in an envelope and hand it over to scientists when we get to shore so that they can look at not just the plastics but also what kind of organisms have attached itself to the plastics. We also started our echo sounders which look a thousand metres down into the ocean below us they try to determine what kind of marine life we have there. This data will not be analysed by us on the raft but will be handed over to universities and scientists afterwards and we hope that several PhDs will come out of this material.
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