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

About the Author

Matthew Traver

Matthew Traver

Matt Traver is a filmmaker, photographer and creator of content relating to adventure, travel and culture.

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