Reed Raft Reaches Tahiti

Oceans
Launching the raft in Chile in March, 2019. Photo: The Viracocha Expedition

After more than three months and 9,200km of sailing, Viracocha III has reached Tahiti, in French Polynesia. The eight-person crew launched their 18m reed raft from Arica, Chile and spent 86 days drifting west across the Pacific Ocean before their first land sighting: Tatakoto, a 14km-long, isolated atoll in the Tuamotu Islands. From there, it took them another three weeks and over 1,000km to reach Tahiti.

Somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, a team member swims underneath the raft with a whale shark. Photo: Marcelo Concha

Their journey wants to demonstrate the capabilities of reed rafts and to show how ancient South American mariners may have used them to migrate across the Pacific. They spent three years and used 2.5 million freshwater totora reeds from Bolivia and Peru — along with 10 Aymara reed raft experts from Lake Titicaca — to construct their vessel. Ahead of them lies three more months and 10,000km through the Cook Islands, Tonga and Fiji before their end goal of Sydney, Australia.

You can follow their progress via their live tracking map and on Facebook.

Related story:

Rafting Across the Pacific

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Matthew Traver

Creating adventure, travel, and culture-related written and visual content.

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1 Comment on "Reed Raft Reaches Tahiti"

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Juanita
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The balsa never reached Tahiti. It was abandoned 150 mile away, when it was sinking, running out of food, and directing away from Tahiti. very lucky a passing ship was near to thems for to rescue them. Only 5 crew was still on bored. Three crew people earlier leave the boat, at the first island they arrives to, because no food, boat was sinking, and Captain and his girlfreind was bullies.