New crew shaping up

(2015-12-30) The brave crew for the return voyage of the Kon-Tiki2 Expedition has gathered on Easter Island. These pictures reveal both physical and mental challenges. The collective jump in the first picture requires strong leadership and solid team coordiantion, while the third picuture shows how the team prepares for primitive transportation. Being exposed to frequent photo sessions is part of going to sea, and Sergey Goltsov (the Expedition doctor) is also taking lead as photographer.

Liv Arnesen brings goodie-bag

(2015-12-26) Liv Arnesen left Norwary for Easter Island today to take part in the second leg of the Expedition. Before leaving, she visited Meny Trekanten, a supermarket in Asker, Norway. There, she filled a geneous 90 liter bag with food and goodies for the journey from Easter Island back to South America. In the picture, from left: Erling Holth, Meny; Geir Lunde, Concedo; Mette Kiilerich, Trekanten; Lene Conradi, Mayor of Asker, and Liv Arnesen.

Change of crew on magnificent Rapa Nui

(2015-12-22) The Kon-Tiki2 rafts are now safely anchored outside Hangaroa on Easter Island. Some of the crew will continue onwards to South America in January, some are flying home, and new crew members for the second leg arrive. A labor dispute in Chile halted flights to and from Easter Island for several days, but a military airplane was able to bring Sergey, Erik and Torgeir's family to Easter Island. We are very thankful for the help provided; Jacqueline and her wonderful family continue to impress us in their may roles as B&B providers, dance instructors, and travel agents extraordinaire. The strike is now over, and we believe Jacqueline fixed that, too. The crew spend their days touring the unique monuments of the Island and getting to know each other while preparing for the next big challenge: the return voyage! By raft.

We made it!

(2015-12-19) The Tupac Yupanqui raft of the The Kon-Tiki Expedition is now safely moored outside of Hangaroa in Rapa Nui (Easter Island). The Expedition was greeted by the Chilean Navy who provided courteous and professional towing assistance to prepared buoys. The other raft, Rahiti Tane is still being towed as this is written. As can be seen, the crew is very happy to have reached the beautiful Rapa Nui island and look forward to going onshore.

[Update: some hours later, all crew members are onshore enjoying a fantastic welcome — food and drinks included — organized by our friends on Rapa Nui! The pictures below shows how wonderful grass feels, how good it is to be at Jacqueline's fabulous party, and the Rahiti crew at buoy]

Land A-hoy! Iorana!

(2015-11-18) After 42 days at sea, Rapa Nui (Easter Island) can barely be made out through the clouds in the distance of the first (zoomed) photo. A landmark, in more ways than one. Iorana!. The first picture was taken just after we first saw the island this morning, about 40 nautical miles away. The second picture is taken about six hours later, when we are 25 nautical miles away. In the second picture, one can see the Poike mountain to the left and the Maunga Terevake mountain on the right. In the third picture, taken some 12 hours after the first sighting, the crew of Tupac Yupanqui is seen in joyful celebration with a sun setting on Easter Island. In picture 4, the clouds are telling us where Maunga Terevake can be found. Or, has the volcano awoken to greet us? Picture 5 is on Dec 19; a proud Expedition leader Torgeir Higraff can be seen at sunrise with the northern tip of Rapa Nui behind him. In the last picture, Tupac Yupanqui is seen sailing towards Hangaroa with Easter Island on port side.

Some first reactions from the crew:

How to sail a raft

I want to try to give a picture on how it is to sail a raft and how it is to steer with guaraboards, or daggerboards. Now we have been out sailing for over four weeks. Mostly we have had southeasterly and easterly winds. They have been from a light breeze to what we in Norway call a frisk bris, about 10 m/s, maybe up to a small gale in some showers. Even tough we have sailed and steered this vessel for a month now, we experience new things every day.

Continue reading here...

The meteorologist's dream

(2015-12-18) We have been out here in the southeast Pacific for more than a month, and we never tire of the changing skies. We may not have seen as many stars as we expected, but on the other hand we have overdosed on beautiful clouds. You can see some of our favorites in these pictures.

About climbing the mast

(2015-12-18) The 1st place of the most exciting feelings and sensations of this journey gets climbing on the mast. first time it was a little scary, because of unstable and twisting and trembling ladder, but in couple of times i've used for it. and that sense, when you are standing on the soar (top of the sail) and watching the horizon espesially in the time of sunrise... it is more than freedom or inspiration or beauty. it is happiness. and this happiness is so real and concentrate, that it seems, you can touch it with your hands. "amazing" is too light word to describe it.

Movie nights in the South pacific

(2015-12-17) Having sails our our rafts has two obvious benefits. First, it allows us to sail from South America to Easter Island — and back! Second, it's a giant screen for video projectors. At night, the crew gathers with a ration of popcorn to enjoy a fine selection of movies with a maritime theme. The original Kon-Tiki movie, the Oscar-awarded documentary made by Thor Heyerdahl, was an obvious first choice. The movie audience was in awe: how could anyone cross the Pacific with such small sail? Torgeir Higraff's movie about the Tangaroa Expedition in 2006, featuring younger versions of Øyvin Lauten and Roberto Sala, has also been a smashing hit. David Attenborough has taken a fatherly role on our sail while lecturing on the history of Easter Island. A more scary choice was The Whale, a BBC production about the terrible fate of the Essex and her crew. None asked the question other people might have asked: why didn't they just catch and eat fish? To make the our crew sleep in comfort, excerpts from Windjammer — the fantastic feelgood movie about the Christian Radich fullrigger — were shown afterwards. Tonight's choice is The Mutiny on Bounty. If the captain allows it.

What amazing morning!

Signe woke me up carefully saying I think you want to bring out your sextant this morning. And she was so right! I am listing up our sights, and you can use them for navigation training purposes. A special greetings to SOCIEDAD ASTRONOMICA Y GEOGRAFICA DE CIUDAD REAL. Un saludo desde nuestra balsa.

We are in position S 31,72 W 106 3,9
The sights were:
Betelgeuse approx 06:22, angle 23
Riegel 06:30:57 angle 23
X (planet/star over Betelgeuse) 06:32:10 angle 45:50
Rigil Kent 06:29:52
X (probably Sirius, compass 300) 06:34:15 angle 42:50
Venus 06:36:18 angle 24:33 (bearing:165)
X (probably Sirius) 06:41:17 angle 42 (compass:275)
06:44:23 angle 42
Mars 06:50:25 angle:55
Venus
06:45:30 angle 26:37
06:51:45.angle 37:15
06:54:40 angle 28:58
06:55:46 angle 28:03
06:56:34 angle 28:05
06:57:34 angle 28
06:59:09 angle 29:42
07:00:15 angle 29:56
07:01:17 angle 30:04
07:02:22 angle 30:27

Portraits from Rahiti

(2015-11-16) The glamorous sailors on the Rahiti Tane (one of the rafts in the Kon-Tiki2 Expedition) raditate strength, joy and a bit of madness in these pictures. Starved on beans (joke) and a text-based internet connection (almost-joke), they are looking forward to landing on Easter Island — but will always remember this sunny day on a raft in the South-East pacific. 170 nautical miles to go for Kari, Gunvor, Signe, Torgeir (visiting photographer from Tupac), Cecilie, Boris, Pål, and Esteban.

Hansen protect our sailors

(2015-11-16) Lifevests, work suits, and survival suits are essential equipment for the Kon-Tiki2 Expedition. Our gear is from Hansen Protection, of which we have a fine selection. The work suits are used on night watches, to keep us warm and dry. In the first picture, Håkon is seen wearing the SeaWind model when launching a drifter. In the last three pictures, the SeaLion is worn by our crew members — matching nicely with our beards and sail.

Epic meeting at sea

(2015-12-15) In a rare occurrence, the two balsa rafts of the Kon-Tiki2 Expedition met at sea today, 185 nautical miles norteast of Easter Island. Although the expedition prides itself at being able to sail these rafts (as opposed to drift), manouvering very close to each other is difficult. However, careful guara-board adjustments and the watchful eyes of Captain Kari and Captein Øyvin (seen in picture 5 and 6) ensured a smooth encounter.

Roca Minnehaha

(2015-12-15) On our voyage across the Pacific ocean, the Kon-Tiki2 Expedition does not find many rocks, islands, or reefs to stay clear of. In that way, navigation has been very easy. Tonight we will be heading over a hidden island (in Spanish: isla fantasma) called Roca Minnehaha. This island was first spotted by a ship called Victoria in 1879. It has not been seen for many years, but is kept in the nautical charts — just in case it is there. There are many wonders below and around us and Roca Minnehaha could be one of them. So tonight, we keep sharp look-out.

[The editor was awoken by a cheerful crew on Rahiti Tane on VHF this morning. They reported that no isla fantasma had been spotted overnight, even if the island is real enough to have its own page in Wikipedia. The first picture shows how the island appears on printed nautical charts (with captain Øyvin Lauten's authentic markings), and the second picture shows the Pacific ocean as we see it just now. No islas — fantasma or real — only the beautiful Rahiti Tane on the horizon.]

Andrey Chesnokov, roundtrip sailor

(2015-12-15) Andrey Chesnokov is the resident Russian on Tupac Yupanqui. In this interview he talks about being stuck with six blue-eyed Norwegian speakers on a raft, and how to make delicious food with a minimal number of ingredients. He describes how Opera invited him to be a blogger for Vokrug Sveta on the Kon-Tiki2 Expedition and what extra items he will bring on the second leg. That's right, Andrey be one of the few people on this planet who has sailed roundtrip from South America to Easter Island!

In the pictures, Andrey is seen with his signature bandana, and his signature musical instrument. Andrey appreciates many means of transport, including buses in Callao and rubber dinghys in the Pacific. He likes the ocean (helpful in the Pacific), and quickly learnt the ropes on the raft. Given a few more months, there would have been been seven blue-eyed Norwegian speakers onboard Tupac Yupanqui!

Pacific cuisine on Rahiti Tane, week 5

(2015-12-14) Our fifth week has passed and it's been somewhat of an international food week. We've had a taste of India, Italy, Indonesia, USA and a few places in between. We've also invented some new dishes and we have started sprouting lentils! So now we have fresh vegetables in the form of sprouted lentils, we have rehydrated vegetables from the dried ones Gunvor brought and we also still have some onions and garlic. Who would've thought we'd be eating fresh vegetables in the middle of the ocean? The menu:

We never throw any food overboard, and so breakfast and lunch are good opportunities to use leftovers. We always have oatmeal for breakfast, and very often this porridge consists of more than just oats and water. Leftover rice and quinoa are good additions to the porridge. Our expedition doctor Boris tells me that a mixed porridge of oats and rice is called friendship in Russia — we have friendship for breakfast several times a week and it tastes much better than just plain oatmeal! Whatever porridge is left over is used as a base for baking bread or making pancakes. Whenever we finish another pot of peanut butter we put water into it and shake to get the last bits out, and use this in a sauce. This way we make sure that we never waste any food.

Now we've entered what will probably be our last week at sea and since Sunday was Lucia-day we baked lussekatter!

2046 meters!

(2015-12-14) In a record-breaking deep-water measurement, the Kon-Tiki2 Expedition launched a CTD which reached 2046 meters (6712 ft) below the Tupac Yupanqui raft. Even more impressively, the CTD was brought safely back to the raft. CTD stands for conductivity, temperature and depth, which translates to measuring salinity and temperature at various depths in the ocean. Also, our CTD measures oxygen levels and chlorophyll. We can reveal that the temperature 2046 meters below us is 2.343°C, but we leave it to NIVA's scientists to decode the rest of the data, which was recovered from the CTD when it resurfaced. The CTD was tied to the raft with an almost 4000 meters long rope, patched together from kevlar spaghetti with triple fishermen knots. Due to surface wind and ocean currents, the rope had a significant angle which explains why the CTD did not reach further down. On a calmer day, today's impressive record — a first from a balsa raft — may be broken. Kon-Tiki2's Chief Scientist Cecilie Mauritzen expressed gratitude to the selfless crew who donated all of today's solar power to the winch that brought the CTD back from the abyss. She writes:
Today the Tupac crew lifted the quality of the expedition dataset up many many levels, with their deep water CTD cast to 2000 meters. Who would have thought it would be possible to perform that sort of operation on a little, open-deck raft, with a sail-winch run on solar power and some kevlar rope thinner than the knitting yarn on Rahiti Tane? Well, its time to eat some hats — Tupac did it :). Proud of science, proud of dedication, proud of the Kon Tiki 2 Expedition!

[The three last pictures show the recoved CTD with David Short (left) and Håkon Wium Lie, Expedition leader Torgeir Higraff, and the Tupac Yupanqui balsa raft from where the CTD was cast]

Double fisherman David Short

(2015-12-13) David Short tops this list of fishermen on the Tupac Yupanqui, one of the two rafts in the Kon-Tiki2 Expedition. In these pictures we can see a handsome man with expedition clothing, a fishing pro with his impressive catch, and a man caring deeply for his next meal. David has a musical side, and he often performs raft-side with Andrey. In card games, he's a shark, but would never leave a sinking ship without his comrades. In Short: a good man to bring on your next rafting adventure.

Team-building on Rahiti Tane

(2015-12-12) Setting off in two small balsa rafts in the Pacific Ocean to sail over 2.000 nautical miles, with 7 people on each raft without knowing each other — this is close to CRAZY, or at least a social experiment. To lower the risk of a social disaster at sea we agreed to have a team-building session before we left Peru for Easter Island. Four out of seven went to Machu Picchu, two blue (explanation will follow) did not want to prioritize this and one got ill. The team-building session was postponed. Not a good start on building a super team. During our second week at sea we finally made some room for a second try. We all were curious about each other and needed to learn and understand more about our dreams, different backgrounds, cultures and "secrets". On board Rahiti Tane we have a Russian, Chilean, Norwegian/Canadian and four Norwegians, three males and four females, seven different occupations: a doctor, a scientist, a teacher, a martial art trainer, a rescue officer, a professional sailor and an HR manager.

The aim of the session was to use the concept of Red, Blue and Green (a so-called Diversity Icebreaker) to contribute to a mutual recognition of differences, providing positive and useful learning process, by using humor and self-irony. Diversity Icebreaker is an unique concept for communication preferences, to identify your preferred behavior: Blue is task-oriented, Red is relational, and Green is change oriented. Most of us have one dominant color, but we all have some of all tree colors. There is no right or wrong.

Rahiti Tane ended up with two significant Blue, two Red and tree Green. We became curious about each other, and some stated that they developed a new knowledge about themselves and others through humorous dialogue and direct involvement. One stated: now it's easier to understand and forgive others of their "strange" behavior or communication. By investing less than two hours on this, I believe we achieved fewer conflicts, more trust and forgiveness, more positive cooperation, and a more constructive team dynamics — thanks to Diversity Icebreaker!

[The pictures show the facilitator, participants at work, and a Red button carried by two members of the crew]

The food situation

(2015-12-11) The food situation on Tupac Yupanqui, one of the rafts of the Kon-Tiki2 Expedition, is getting strenuous. We normally start the day with oatmeal porrage. This we still have, for now. Later in the day, we often make bread. However, our gas-fired oven no longer works and we must fry the dough in a casserole or pan instead. Due to limited supplies, rationing of sugar has been introduced and bread is divided into equal parts – one for each crew member. We need help to make the most of our remaining supplies, which can be seen in the last picure: peas, onions, garlic powder, wheat flour, ketchup, and boxes of tomato. Calling all celebrity chefs: how can these items be turned into a gourmet feast before Christmas? Any delicious recipes out there? (Also, we have rice and beans — but try without them, please!)

The inner life of Rahiti

(2015-12-11) A treasure-trove of images from the Rahiti raft was recently rediscovered close to an internet connection. We can therefore offer rare glimpses into the inner life of the raft with a female captain; Kari is seen in the first picture filling out a personality test (!) with her fellow crew members. Bora fans will like the second picture where the confident doctor has control of the raft, if not the fishing rod. In the third image, Cecilie works at her desk. Notice the thick book on Wilderness Medicine on the shelf, and the water analysis machinery beneath her desk. In picture 4 and 5, Gunvor and Signe express approval of the UK headlamps they are using. Pål, the purveyor of the images, is seen with Signe. The last picture is from our day of departure when we were towed out of Callao, which can be seen in the distant background. Two of Rahiti's guara boards are in front.

A quick note on towing: all recent expeditions, including Kon-Tiki in 1947, have been towed from port. We do not have access to unlimited numbers of rowers, and we have modern shipping lanes to worry about.

Beautiful, beautiful rafts

(2015-12-10) In Nick Thorpe's much-recommended book about the only other traditional vessel sailing to Easter Island in modern times (Eight men and a Duck, page 287), Thor Heyerdahl is quoted:
What the critics need to understand about these voyages is that it's not the crew that is fantastic, but the reed boat they're sitting on. When I set off on Kon-Tiki, I had no form of training in maritime affairs. Yet, I came back and I was applauded by the admiralities for my seamanship! It was ... ridiculous!

We must hasten to say that the crew on the Kon-Tiki2 rafts are fantastic, and that they show strong seamanship — unlike Kon-Tiki we are actually sailing our balsa rafts. Still, the balsa rafts are truly magnificent vessels which we would like to celebrate with some beautiful pictures. The first three show Tupac Yupanqui, the last three show Rahiti Tane. The final sunset picture may be the most beautiful view of any raft, ever. Until we see Rapa Nui in the background, that is.

Scientists unite! No more assessment without action!

Based on the earlier blog What the ocean would have said at COP21 I just received an interesting challenge from Heidi and Heikki Niskanen in Finland. This wonderful couple were part of the raft building team in Peru. And now, from their warm house in winter Finland they ask: What would Cecilie have said at COP21?

Read Cecilie's response in the Science page

Lifelong dream fulfilled

(2015-12-09) Normally, we don't write news reports about news reports. Today we make an exception: Yr.no has a great article about how Cecilie Mauritzen (seen with the weather station in the first picture) and her team report weather data from the Kon-Tiki Expedition. Even if you cannot read the Norwegian text, you can still use the global weather forecast offered by yr.no — crew member Robert Sala uses it from his home in Peru. When shown the article, Kon-Tiki2 Expedition leader Torgeir Higraff (in the second picture) reveals that one of his goals in life has been to have an article about his expedition on exactly this website. So, if you share Torgeir's goal, all you need to do is organize a balsa-raft expedition to a remote island in an El Nino year. And, don't forget the weather station and a scientist.

In translation: kontiki2.ru

(2015-12-09) Readers may have noticed a small Russian flag in the upper right corner of our homepage. Try clicking on it, and you will be take to our site, in Russian translation! Thanks to the initiative of Anna Turchaninova and Alexey Danilov, news from our rafts reach Russians — many of whom grew up with tales of Thor Heyerdahl and his expeditions, as told by Yuri Senkevich. Among the volunteer translators are Tatyana Chesnokova, Dmitry Chesnikov, Anna Turchaninova, Tatyana Gluhareva, Andrey Kuznetsov, Danila Oleolenko, Anastasia Petrova and many expedition fans in Russia. The three Russians on our Expedition — Boris Romanov, Andrey Chesnokov, and Sergey Goltsov — warmly appreciate having the backing from their own country, in their own language.

Signe Siglar

(2015-12-09) Signe Meling can be found on the Rahiti Tane raft of the Kon-Tiki2 Expedition. She has many raft-related skills: She is a hardcore sailor (which is called siglar, roughly, in her native Haugesund dialect), a good planner, and a great chef. In this authentic VHF conversation she is confronted with rumors of fictional descriptions of feasts from her raft, and of sugar shortages on the sister raft. Signe will (along with Ola, Torgeir, and Andrey) also take part in the return journey, so you will hear more from this woman.

In the pictures above, Signe is first shown wearing proper protection gear at the SIMA yard. The second picture gives us an indication that she never wastes a minute; even the bus rides to and from SIMA were productive. The next three pictures are taken on Rahiti Tane, where Signe shows good her good humor, a smiling face, and an attentive look to the rigging. The final picture is from 2009 when the photographer first met Signe on the Christian Radich — the attentive look to the rigging was already there.

Two more drifters released

(2015-12-08) The Kon-Tiki2 Expedition has launched two more drifters, part of the Global Drifter Program (GDP). These odd-looking balls with tent-like structures attached are part of a herd of reporters in the oceans. Cecilie Mauritzen, Kon-Tiki2's chief scientist, gave orders to release the drifters at 101 degrees, 54 minutes west. The over-eager crew on Tupac Yupanqui released a bit too early, but the drifters made nice splashes in the water and will hopefully add to mankind's knowledge of our oceans.

Keeping clean

(2015-12-08) Hygiene is an issue when seven people live close together on a raft. Salt-water swimming is delightful, but freshwater showers are a luxuary. A rare opportunity appeared today when a local squall passed us. (The large blue balls which can be seen in the third picture do not belong to any of these men — they are drifters which will be launched when we reach 101 degrees and 54 minutes west.)

Bread beats rice on this raft

(2015-11-08) Bread-baking has become a favorite pasttime for sailors onboard the Tupac Yupanqui. Baker Hansen in Oslo has developed a fantastic mix which only needs Pacific salt water. Our highly experimental trials show that this local ingredient, of which we have sufficient supplies, makes great bread. Ola and David knead the dough and cradle the finished result. We have a gas-fired stove for on-raft cooking. We have run out of butter (and sugar, and oranges, and carrots and ...) but still have some marmelade left. And bread mix for more yummy days! For desert: a fantastic sunset.

Film photographer wanted

(2015-12-08) Do you have experience from documentary filmmaking? Do you want to take part in a unique epic voyage and document dramatic events, scientific exploration, and social life onboard digitally for future viewers on web and television? Can you free yourself from other commitments from the end of December until the beginning of March? If so, send us an email. No email attachments, please.

Happy Birthday, Tupac & Rahiti!

(2015-12-08) Today is exactly one month of our independent sailing! No towboat and no land on horizon. I don't know about other crewmembers, but for me this date is very important! So, let's sum up!

  • to catch ocean fish - done!
  • to swim in the open ocean - done!
  • to reach the shore of the Easter Island - almost done.

The crew has a good mood, the wind is bringing us to our goal, the ocean is calm and kind to us. And we sailing. I think, it's enough. My congratulations for all crewmembers of both rafts, Keep on sailing!

Three frigatebirds

(2015-12-08) Yesterday we asked how from land a frigatebird can fly. Today we ask how far from land three frigatebirds can fly. (We are still 540 nautical miles from Easter Island.) In the first picture, you can see all three of them: two in the left side of the picture and one on the far right. In picture two it gets interesting: these birds are not here for our rice and beans, they're hunting something in the ocean surface. Marine animals show up in picture three: a large fish, probably a dorado, can be seen under water. Both the dorado and the frigatebirds hunt flying fish, and the white water to the left of the fish is probably caused by flying fish. The dorado can also be seen in the fourth picture. So, if there are dorados within photographic distance, why don't we get any? Any advice from land? Nord-Norge, korsen i farsken fesker vi fesken?

We have had some questions about camera equipment: most images on this site are taken with Håkon's Canon EOS 6D, the bird pictures use a Canon 70-200mm 1:4 IS lens, most pictures with people use a Canon 17-40mm 1:4 lens, while the close-ups use a Sigma 1:2.8 DG Macro lens.

The importance of deep-water measurements


Pictures from the deep-water cast

(2015-12-07) Now that we have managed to make a deep-water cast, thanks to the hard, dedicated work by the crew on Tupac, it is time to reflect a bit on the importance of such deep-water measurements. There are many ways to make measurements at the sea surface: you can place sensors on satellites and they can measure anything from sea surface height to chlorophyll and salinity. You can put sensors on instruments you bring out to sea, and you simply tie the instrument to the side of the ship. We have many such sensors tied to our raft. And you can analyze the water directly, using a variety of chemicals, alternatively bring the samples back to shore for further analysis as we will do.

Continue reading on the Science page...

Pacific cuisine on Rahiti Tane, week 4

(2015-12-07) Another week has passed, and we still have some vegetables left! Seeing as we don't have any means of keeping food refrigerated, we could only bring so much of certain food types. The air temperature is around 20 degrees Celsius in the shade, so we have had our fruits and vegetables hanging from the ceiling of the cabin in crates, mesh bags and hammocks. The onions are now five and a half weeks old and most look almost new, same goes for the garlic. We also still have oranges and lime. So if you think your food gets old after a few days, think again. Most foods keep well long after their sell-by date and often also the consume-by date.

We got some food-tips from kind readers, thanks a lot! Olga, your tip about mashing chick peas in a bag with a rolling pin has been duly tested, only we used a large rubber hammer instead. I believed it worked for squid-meat as well. Thank you.

So the menu:

  • Sunday: Rice with a newly invented peanut/red wine/coconut sauce, Rahiti-special
  • Monday: Chili sin carne, and chocolate cake for Estebans birthday
  • Tuesday: Dorado, caught with much bravado the day before
  • Wednesday: Pancakes and Slovak garlic soup (thank you Katarina!)
  • Thursday: Falafel with hummus and rice
  • Friday: Spaghetti with creamed mushroom sauce, fried squid (followed by warm buns!)
  • Saturday: Kari's "the closest we'll get to Thailand on this trip", a future Pacific classic

We're on the brink of breaking into our secret storage of dried vegetables that Gunvor brought with her from home. She has a dehydrator and spent some time before departure drying broccoli, chives, carrots, red beets, onions, blueberries, mushrooms and more. These are to be soaked overnight and then you have vegetables! Perfect for long voyages, not only at sea but in the mountains where weight is an issue. And they don't go bad. Perfect!

The coming week has been kickstarted already as this is written a bit late, and if it continues in the same style it will be another great food week in the Pacific!

Coffee habits

(2015-12-07) Night watches on Kon-Tiki2 are 4 hours long, in the dark, and sometimes wet and cold. To keep our crew awake and alert, we have generous supplies of Friele Instant Feelgood coffee onboard. And, as shown by these men, coffee also tastes good in daytime. Pictures look better, too.

Sailing Rahiti

(2015-12-06) So far on this voyage, Tupac has been the sharpest sailing balsa of the two rafts. But something has changed. The last week or so, the distance between us has increased, little by little. We were 12nm miles apart at eight o clock last night. Rahiti Tane have been sailing as slow as she can, not gaining height, the crew hardly working at the helm all night. And still we gained another 2,5 nm and some height.

As we have been struggling for a month to keep up with Tupac, we have all become good and fokused helmsmen. Even the fresh sailors have been reading the squalls, trying to get most out of each shift of wind. And we have to continue to work hard if we are going to get to the little island ahead of us with the winds that are predicted in the forecasts we receive. They will continue to be easterly the next week, increasing a little in strength.

Today we used the time when we waited for Tupac to become even better at sailing balsas. We have been sailing on one tack, port tack, the whole way. At mid-day, when we were all well rested after night watches, we made some different maneuvers. We turned downwind a few times (kuvending). It was as some had expected, when we lifted all guaras in front and lowered in the back she came about real easy. Stopped when she had the wind astern. There we tested the new sheet and compared the sides of the sail. When we lowered guaras in front and pulled them up in the back, she continued around ontothe starboard tack. We also wanted to practice the coolest maneuver of all – going over stay, tacking (stagvending). None of us have done it on a balsa raft before, and the sailors are excited to test the maneuverability of the raft. We decided not to do it today, but we will take our time and get in some more guara-maneuvers before we reach Rapa Nui.

How far from land can frigatebirds be found?

(2015-12-07) A large frigatebird circled over the Tupac Yupanqui raft today. Our textbook on landfinding in the Pacific (called "We, the Navigators", on page 214) quotes various sources on the distance from land these birds may be spotted; the maximum distance varies between 75-150 miles. Now, at the time we first saw the bird, we were 580 nautical miles from Easter Island, and 420 nautical miles from Salas y Gómez. How can this be explained? Either, the experts quoted have it wrong. Or, more excitingly, we are close to a yet undiscovered island. A third option is that the the bird sniffed our delicious rice and beans, and rushed out to sea beyond what any firgatebird has ever done. Any other options?

Gonzalo Figueroa and the Norwegian Expedition

(2015-12-06) When the Kon-Tiki2 Expedition arrives in Rapa Nui (Easter Island) we are halfway to complete the first roundtrip with historical vessels in modern times, and we have also collected a great deal of environmental and oceanographical data that can provide more knowledge about the Eastern Pacific. We do so exactly 60 years after what is often referred to as "The Norwegian Expedition" of 1955-56. One of many important results of that expedition – which was led and financed by Thor Heyerdahl – was the first re-erection of a moai on its ahu platform. Perhaps the most important contribution was to start a serious debate about Rapa Nui – to show the academic elite on Polynesian history, archaeology and ethnology the importance of long-lasting fieldwork. Heyerdahl's bestselling book about the Expedition ("Ahu-Ahu") describes how experts in different fields worked together, and it brought international attention to Rapa Nui.

Many people participated in the Norwegian Expedition 60 years ago, among them Gonzalo Figueroa, an archaeologist and authority on the conservation of the archaeological heritage of Rapa Nui. Figueroa was only a 24-year-old graduate student in archaeology when he joined Heyerdahl's expedition, with four professional archaeologists: Arne Skjolsvold, William Mulloy, Edwin Ferndon, and Carlyle Smith. Without Heyerdahl's initiative and brave investment, talents like Figueroa might have had less interesting careers. Figueroa got a flying start as an assistant and then spent over four decades to conserve and restore the archaeological monuments of Rapa Nui for future generations. We are looking forward to seeing with our own eyes the results of Figueroa's work!

Yet another Laugardag

(2015-12-05) Saturday has become the favorite day of many of the crew of Rahiti Tane. In the daytime we take our bedclothes, PJs, blankets and towels out to dry. This day was especially nice because the sun is shining. The women of the raft had their weekly bath up front, while the men were hunting a dorado with a harpoon in the back. The hunt ended with an empty pan, and the skipper made an attempt to make Tom Ka Gai, her favorite soup. But with only coconut milk as ordinary ingredient, the result was named "as-close-as-we-get-to-Thailand-on-this-trip". The head of provision, Signe always has something especially delicious for us to eat and drink on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Tonight we are having popcorn, and maybe a movie? (When I say this out loud, Boris says "movie" and points to the horizon)

Deep-water CTD launched!
And recovered!

(2015-12-05) The Kon-Tiki2 Expedition today launched a NIVA deep-water CTD into the ocean on an 2000 meter long rope (patched together from kevlar spaghetti). Even more impressively, the crew on Tupaq Yupanqui were able to bring the unit back up to the surface again, and recover data that had been recorded along the way. CTD stands for conductivity, temperature and depth, which translates to measuring salinity and temperature at various depths. Also, our CTD measures oxygen levels and chlorophyll. These measurements are important for oceanographers who try to understand how oceans work, and how they may be affected by climate change. When transmitting data from the CTD, the crew discovered that the CTD had reached a depth of 1140 meters. The difference is due to the raft drifting in winds and currents on the surface, while the CTD drifted in other currents further down. Kon-Tiki2's Chief Scientist Cecilie Mauritzen resides on the other raft, but followed the experiment closely over VHF radio.

In the pictures, one can see the CTD and the 3mm kevlar rope used in the operation. The rope is stored on an iron bobbin, while an electric winch helps pull the CTD back up onto the surface. The 900 watts electric winch ran on pure solar power, which would otherwise be wasted in the crew's personal entertainment systems. The whole operation took 4 hours. One of those hours were used to move the pulleys from one side of the raft to the other, to avoid having the rope churn on the raft.

End of the line

(2015-12-05) Each raft drags a safety line, a thick yellow synthetic rope with a floating device at the end. If someone falls into water, he or she must swim to the rope and hold onto it. Thankfully, this has never happened. Meanwhile, the rope also provides a fine line for tying the dinghy. On calm days, like yesterday, we can go out into the dinghy to get a new perspective on the raft, and ourselves. The rope is also home to a growing farm of Goose barnacles (andeskjell). Edible, perhaps?

Tupac from afar

(2015-11-04) A calm and sunny day at sea allowed Tupac Yupanqui residents to photograph their home from a distance. She's a beauty with the sun, sea, and sky all around her. The outboard motor for the small dinghy was left on the raft, but volunteer rowers provided plenty of muscle power to circle the slow-moving vessel. The gale which has taken us towards Easter Island for the last weeks was suddenly replaced by a lazy breeze this morning. The crews on both rafts used the opportunity to wash, swim and to dry clothes. On Rahiti, the sail was lowered and the mast was climbed.

The new pictures also allowed us to replace the picture of Tangaroa, which has been our masthead until now. An even better day will allow us to photograph both rafts, in the sun, with sails, and Easter island in the background. Just you wait.

Pål Børresen catches giant octopus

(2015-12-04) Pål Børrensen has secured proteins for a week to come on Rahiti Tane by catching a giant octopus! Pan-fried squid in garlic sauce was offered to a grateful crew for dinner tonight. Exactly how big the octopus was is uncertain as no pictures have escaped the raft, and the scale was left in Callao on purpose. However, we do have an authentic VHF conversation which describes the incident. Also Pål talks about looking for Easter Island from the top of the mast, and how his raft will win the race to the promised island. We'll sea.

In the pictures above, we can see that Pål likes good food and good company. He has a boyish smile which never leaves him, one that he generously shares with others – just like he did with the octopus. The last picture shows Pål at the top of the mast, today!

Raft fashion week

(2015-12-04) While the Kon-Tiki2 crew members fancy a tropical summer, the South Pacific has so far been colder and more cloudy than expected. Clothing is essential for our welfare, and we are happy to have jackets, shorts and t-shirts from Stormberg of Norway. Clothes from Stormberg shield our sailors at night, and improve their looks at daytime.

Request from our readers:
Pictures of Bora!

Our raft doctor, Bora, is a favorite. Several of our readers have requested more pictures of the man, and an army of volunteers have been hard at work to fulfill demand. The rare pictures seen here have passed not once, but twice, through the Iridium satellite systems. Some bits got lost up there somewhere, but we can still recognize Bora and other crew members. Bora wisely keeps his medicine chest locked, but is otherwise a most generous crew member.

Kon-Tiki2 in 35 seconds

(2015-12-03) In this video clip, Håkon Wium Lie gives a brief summary of the Kon-Tiki2 Expedition in English: why are we doing this? Where is South America? Where is Easter Island? Epic drone footage from one of our rare sunny days is also included. The raw video file is here. We encourage reuse for educational and news purposes.

Something bigger than ourselves?

(2015-12-03) The Tupac Yupanqui raft has advanced echo sounders from Kongsberg Maritime mounted below water. We try to run them around 6 hours per day, power permitting. The researchers who will analyze the recorded data when we reach shores are especially interested in soundings at dusk and dawn. Yesterday evening we noticed something big under our raft. Look below the 100 meter depth line in the first picture. Experts say it's not a school of fish. A megaloden, perhaps? The second image is also interesting. It show how running the three-stage sampler a few metres from the echo sounders introduces noise. The third picture shows the echo sounders before they were attached to the raft, while the fourth shows how they are mounted under the raft. Time for a below-water cleaning day, perhaps?

Video in native Norwegian: Why are we doing this?

(2015-12-02) These video clips provide short introductions to the Kon-Tiki2 project, in the native Norwegian of Torgeir Higraff and Håkon Wium Lie. We have video editing capabilities on the rafts, but bandwidth restrictions make it difficult to upload video clips. We hope to add English-language versions in due course. You can also find find the video files here and here. We encourage reuse for educational and news purposes.

What the Ocean would have said.
On oxygen @ cop21

Dear delegates, dignitaries, ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great honor to be given the floor at the 21st Conference of the Parties here in Paris – a meeting of enormous consequences for Earth, its elements, and all its creatures, great and small. The agreements that are reached at the 2015 climate summit will have consequences for times so far into the future that only the ocean and the mountains will remember.

Today I wish to turn your attention to an aspect of climate change that you have quite possibly never considered. It is an issue of great importance and grave consequences for the ocean, namely that of oxygen depletion. You may not know this, but the animals in the ocean need oxygen to live, just like the animals at land. And, as on land, it is the plants that produce the oxygen. In fact, the ocean normally produces much more oxygen than it needs, and therefore shares its oxygen with the animals in land, including you humans. Nearly half the oxygen you use originates in the ocean. So you see, we, the Ocean, provide a great service as oxygen producer to all Earth's creatures, wherever they live.

And I tell you about this because I fear that we, the Ocean, cannot continue to provide this service at the same high standard much longer. We cannot even supply enough oxygen for our own creatures anymore. "Why?" you may ask. Well, the ultimate reason is the emission of carbon dioxide associated with combustion of fossil fuels. This emission creates temperature increases in the ocean, just like on land. And when the surface ocean gets warmer it gets more buoyant, making it difficult to mix the surface waters with the deep water. Here it gets a little complicated, but no less important: the ocean plants that produce the oxygen live in the surface waters. Less mixing by the winds means less oxygen transported downwards, to where the ocean animals need it. And less mixing means fewer nutrients coming up from the deep ocean to provide food for the ocean plants. Less food means fewer plants and thereby even less oxygen production. This is a worrysome trend that we, the Ocean, worry deeply about, not just because it affects our own creatures, but because it affects all Earth's creatures, great and small, rich and poor, women and man, child and old.

There is only one way to stop this worrysome trend, namely to curb the emissions of carbon dioxide. Every day and every year that you postpone this decision, we, the Ocean, weakens and our services – which you all depend upon – deteriorate. We beg of you: if not for us, then your you, make a decision. Produce an agreement at this summit that will put us, the Ocean, back on the path towards health, so that we can, once again, be the top quality oxygen producer that all Earth's creatures, great and small, depend upon.

Thank you kindly for listening. Most humbly,
We, the Ocean.

Small joys

On Rahiti Tane, we are quite good at enjoying the small things. Finding a tiny 5cm flying fish on deck in the morning, dry socks, changing to a clean and dry pillowcase, pineapplerings for dessert, clean underwear, dry underwear (dry anything at all really), realising that we have larger amounts of flour than we thought and so can bake more bread, chocolate on wednesdays and saturdays, red nail polish, finishing a book and immediately starting a new one, not being sleepy on night watch for once, starry skies, dry shoes (lasts about 15 minutes). Seeing schools of flying fish, the sun breaking through the clouds. Receiving an e-mail from friends. And last but not least: when someone cleans your dinner bowl for you.

How I was alone in the Pacific ocean

(2015-12-01) Yesteday, Torgeir decided to put on the water our rubber boat to take pictures of Tupac from other point. In Russia we call such boat "Tuzik". It means something, looking very stupid and undependable. We clipped the boat with a carabine to our yellow safety-rope and David and Torgeir floated separately from the raft for fifteen minutes. I was cooking spaghetti that moment. I'm not sure, will we have a possibility to put the Tuzik on the water one more time until Easter Island, and will I have a passion for such floating? So, I decided that it is my last chance to be "alone in the Pacific". I asked Ola to take over for me in the kitchen and went to the aft. There I put on my lifejacket, took a camera and got into the Tuzik. When I was jumping on the waves which were much more sensible than on the raft, I realised two things. First: I'm on the toy-boat above 4000 meters of abyss. Second: it looks absolutely stupid, but very fun, exciting and cool! I've made some pictures of Tupac, wich was grandly and self-reliantly climbing on the waves, some photos of Tupac's green beard and some selfies. Then I asked Jostein to bring me back on the stable raft. And than Jostein tried this attraction. When I pulled him back, i jokingly thought that there is not so much spaghetti for seven people. We laughed at this joke and went to have a dinner. Achievement unlock "alone in the Pacific". Next achievment is "slap the shark's fin"!

Real food

(2015-11-30) Today was a special day on the Tupac Yupanqui. Sunshine from the morning allowed the crew to charge the batteries fully from the solar panels, and to even put some cold beverage in the cooler. Best of all, each crew member were allowed a ration from their favorite food source: Real Turmat. As you can see from these happy pictures, it beats rice and beans. Three stars from the southern skies awarded!

Dinghy gives perspective

(2015-12-01) Each raft carries a small dinghy, for safety and convenience. Yesterday, Tupac Yupanqui launched their's to check that it floats, and to take some photographs of the raft from a distance. David and Torgeir went out first, and some of Torgeir's pictures can be seen above. Others followed. Andrey, when asked if he found some good angles for his camera said: "The pictures are not so important. What's important is being in a rubber dinghy with 4000 metres of salty water right underneath".

Obituary

Monday was supposed to be a day of joy on Rahiti Tane. Everything was good: sailing speed, the half moon at (supposedly) sunrise, and breakfast in bed for Esteban, who turned 29 today. Again. We took the reefs out of the sails, to cruise even faster, we celebrated birthday lunch and dinner with our favourites: rice, beans, lentls, onions and garlic; the sun sprang out of the cloudy sky for our afternoon coffee and birthday cake, and... THEN EVERYTHING started happening: both fishing rods reported catches: the birthday boy swiftly took one rod, Pål the other until they realizred they had hooked eachother. A quick reshuffle of people and rods were arranged. And Esteban pulled in half a flying fish! The bait, it appared. Whereas Pål continued to reel in and – supposedly – "fight" with the fish (a rather lopsided competition, if you ask me), with Kari and Esteban screaming bloody murder. They looked unusually scary with their double and triple hooks (remember: until now we have only managed to catch one single fish, and as much as we love rice, beans, lentls, onions and garlic, it was exciting to think of a variation). So we all watched this game, which took nearly half an hour, and which ended in a bloodbath too intense for the gentlehearted: Bora, Signe and myself. Anyways, the fish died, was fileed and cleaned, and will provide us omega-3 for the rest of the journey. Now, at this point you might think that the excitement and the obituary ended, but no: as we are all trying to settle down after "the great hunt" two things happened: first: a gigantic wave broke through the floorboards in the cabin, throwing 5-gallon water bottles high into the air, together with survival suits and Bora's medical box. And at the same time the fish hook, which was sort of left floating off the stern of the raft after "the great hunt" was eaten by a seagull who mistook it for a dead fish. So Kari pulls in the line, picks up the bird, talks gently to it and condems it to death. Meanwhile, the rest of us tries to deal with the floorboard. It was a very fine floorboard. Now we have protected it with three times as many waterbottles. So come on, waves, se if you can beat THAT! Anyways, this obituary is in reality for the bird, first and foremost. Why are these birds here, and why do they have to die on our raft? We are very very sorry. It was a very fine bird. R.I.P.

Celebrating Esteban!

(2015-11-30) Crew member Esteban Contreras celebrated his 39th birthday today! On the Rahiti Tane, he was served breakfast in bed: tea, bread w/jam – and an apple! Pål had saved the apple for 3 weeks and it will be the last apple seen by the crew before arriving in Easter Island. However, Esteban's favorite gift today was to sail Rahiti Tane in good winds and sun. In this authenic VHF converation Esteban elaborates on being a team member, on being sick the first week, and on returning to his Chilean roots – on a raft!

The pictures above show that Esteban is comfortable both behind, and in front of, a camera. His communication skills were vital during our time in Callao, and Esteban also quickly stepped up to the task of being the raft electrician. He is a team player who adds energy, vitality and fun to our expedition.

Pacific cuisine on Rahiti Tane, week 3

This week we ran out of carrots, bananas and worst of all: cheese! Parmesan cheese holds well, and we wish we had brought more – it was still very tasty. Anyways, it has been a good food week, kickstarted by Sunday lunch which consisted of fresh bread, omelette and fried rice. We felt like kings. Friday was a special day, we were HALFWAY to Easter Island! The occasion was celebrated with soda, chips and little parasols in our drinks.

The menu for the rest of the week is listed below:

Up until now half of our food has been stored away in the boxes we sleep on, but today it was hauled out and our food boxes on deck are full again. We have enough dried beans, lentils and peas to last us a lifetime. Didn't catch a single fish this week, even though many have tasted our hooks but changed their mind and let go at the last second.

I'd like to say a few words about the most fantastic piece of kitchen equipment we have: the pressure cooker! This beautiful wonderful pot cooks rice to perfection every time, with only half the use of propane gas. Just put water and rice, lentils and beans into the pot, heat until it hisses, turn off the gas and wait for 15 minutes. Voila! For potatoes it's maybe even better, just put the potatoes and 2cm of salt water into the pot, and follow the procedure above. This way we save both water and gas. However, the potatoes we have smell and taste so bad that we've only eaten them once, and now we usually just throw a dirty look in their direction every now and then.

On that note, I'll finish up, and urge whoever is reading this to send creative ideas about what to eat – when our onions run out in a few days and the only vegetable we have left is garlic (and the odd tinned tomato).

[Signe and Gunvor can be reached on sailors.rahiti@myiridium.net]

Raft fashion week

(2015-11-30) Due to reasons we not quite understand, the weather has been colder than expected on Kon-Tiki2. Thankfully, we all have underwear from Brynje of Norway, which keeps us warm and happy. Really, without them we would have been more miserable. It has become quite fashionable to walk around on deck sporting one's underwear, and some even clean fish or check the Manta trawl in them. Captain Kari shows off the slightly thicker version with an extra large smile.
(2015-11-29) If you have been following the stories posted on this site, you may have seen a pattern; we publish many pictures of the Rahiti Tane raft, and even more pictures from the Tupac Yupanqui raft. Why is this? Today is no exception: the first picture is of the Rahiti Tane this morning, taken from Tupac Yupanqui. To the right of the huge wave, you will see a person in an orange suit. Our guess it that Gunvor is out on deck, wearing proper protection gear. The second picture is the iron bobbin on Tupac Yupanqui, lovingly handcrafted at the SIMA shipyard and now partially filled with recovered kevlar rope. It also serves as a table for the crew. Picture 3, 4, and 5 shows the solution to the question: our uplink antenna on Tupac Yupanqui. While both rafts can send and receive email using the Iridium GO, the GO cannot upload high-resolution images or video clips. For this, another antenna is necessary and we us the Iridium Pilot. It's bigger, much more expensive, and it requires patience and multiple retries to upload files or fetch web pages. But, with the right software tools, you can actually maintain a web site and report preliminary research results. Essential tools include Opera Mini, Opera Max, Opera Turbo, lynx, wget and rsync.

Laugardag

The tradition of cleaning ship and crew on Saturdays has long been a part of my life. On Rahiti Tane we are four women and three men. We all clean the ship together, wash the solar panels, swipe indoors, shift the mats around and hang our sleeping bags out to get the smell out.

The women started taking a bath together on the first Saturday at sea. This has become a fun highlight of the week for us. Yesterday, it was pretty cold, and we decided to postpone Laugardag. But, as we had lost sight of Tupac due to some really hard night sailing, we put in two søft/reefs to wait for them, and the operation made us sweat enough to to through with baths as planned. We put on our pink matching underwear for the occation. The water is pleasant now, 21 degrees.

[Editor's note: the picture of the female crew on Rahiti attached to this story is a breakthrough in both fashion and technology. It is the first digital image that has escaped Rahiti Tane by satellite. The resolution is close to the first pictures from tbe moonlanding, but colors are more intense. As is the looks in the eyes of the Laugardag partcipants. We hope more images, and more Laugardags, will follow.]

Showing true colors

We are in some little stormcenter, and everyone is a little cranky. For the third day in a row, water is exploding up from under the beds every time a huge wave hits. Worst off is Kari, the captain. Water even found its way splashing into her sleeping bag. So she has arranged her bed with every kind of protection against splashes you can think of: ropes, towels, garbage bags, survival suits, rain jacket, you name it, she's got it. And the funny thing about Kari is that no matter how bad it is she finds a funny way to describe it and then she pulls out yet another item her mother has sent along which will improve the situation.

For a while I envied everybody their rain boots, but now that the Pacific is showing its true colors I see boots are not that useful. It is not a question of hours, but minutes, until they are filled with water. As Gunvor puts it: "normally when you're out sailing the water comes from above, not below!". Here, the wave builds up from beneath, finds its way into you rainpants, an then down into your boots. In minutes. So I don't envy those boots so much anymore :)

Everything is humid. Skin is cracking -deeply – on our hands and feet, so we speculated for a while that we were turning into a leper colony out here. But its the humidity. The clothes may LOOK dry once in a while, but that's only an optical illusion. Our Saturday snack – specifically: Pringles – turned to impotent mush in less than five minutes. As usual, Esteban verbalizes what everybody thinks: "I am sick of being wet all the time!".

The Pacific is showing its true colors: not so "pacific", not so blue... But we won't give up. We've seen the weather forecast. We know we will get our fantasy Pacific back. One day :)

Half-way celebration

(2015-11-28) The two Kon-Tiki2 rafts both passed the half-way mark today, and the occasion was duly celebrated. Rahiti Tane celebrated with with pancackes and extra rations for all. In a moving ceremony, the two last drifters were put to sea. National anthems were sung, including the Norwegian and the Russian. At Tupac Yupanqui, celebrations started with a most delicious chocolate cake. Part two was the ceremonial opening of a rare bottle of apple juice from Håkon's apple orchard. The third, and final, stage, was the opening of a wonderfully wrapped gift from our not-so-secret admirers on Rahiti Tane. Each of the crew received one pair of boxer shorts with personal inscriptions. Andrey looked stylish wearing the new garment on his head, and others soon took after this ancient Russian custom. Dried apple snacks and other calorific content was also included in the generous package, and the crew toasted to our friends on Rahiti, to raft life in general, and to the next 1000 miles.

What would the Ocean have Said?

Thoughts at the dawn of the 2015 Climate Summit in Paris

What is it about nature? Why is it so beautiful? Why is it ALWAYS so beautiful? Why does it hide so well all its scars and bruises? Why does it let us get away with it all?

I sit on a balsa raft in the Pacific Ocean, leisurely sailing from Peru to Easter Island. I watch the swells go by, the sun come and go, the small squalls pass by, the winds steadily blowing out of the southeast, allowing us, just barely, to steer so far upwind that we have a justified hope of reaching Easter Island before Christmas. In fact, we are two rafts, and both are packed to capacity with research equipment to document the state of the southeast Pacific during this (southern hemisphere) spring, which happens to be in a gigantic El Nino year.

One of the rafts, the Tupac Yupanqui, is dedicated to monitoring plastic pollution. We are crossing one of the five major plastic accumulation regions ("gyres") of the World Oceans, and we have brought many different instruments to acquire a solid data base on this year's gyre. But what do we see? Nothing. Nada. Okey, a coke bottle twice so far, but otherwise: not one thing. The steady, intense winds have efficiently mixed down the plastic so that it looks just as gorgeous as it did 70 years ago when Thor Heyerdahl crossed these seas with the Kon Tiki. "Our" Pacific is probably a bit greyer than the blue colors his crew so eloquently described, but that's because of the weather, not because of some color contamination.

Our instruments will be able to detect particles smaller than the human eye can see, and will be able to record with high precision what the broken-down plastic - the microplastic - consists of and where it most likely came from. Our research therefore adds to the never-ending, painstaking collecting of data that has been the task of the scientist since times immemorial. And microplastic is one of those particularly insidious pollutants; it attracts toxins and it folows the food web of the marine ecosystem, thus slowly poisoning the entire chain. But it doesn't really matter what the scientist collects, does it? Because no one can see it. Can't see the plastic in the oceans nor the poison in the animals. The ocean is gorgeous. And the animal life is up to par. I see dolphins, dorados, whales, flying fish and a multitude of birds. In fact, our raft has turned into its own little ecosystem which we monitor with cameras every day. To us, the marine life looks nothing but happy.

My raft, the Rahiti Tane, is packed with equipment to monitor climate change. We measure ocean temperature, ocean CO2-content, ocean oxygen content, ocean acidity. We know the oceans are behaving like a huge buffer in Earth's big effort to mitigate climate change: the oceans take up a third of all the CO2 that mankind emits every year. And it takes up almost all the heat created by climate change. Almost all! Sure, the global atmospheric temperature is rising, decade by decade, with all its consequences in terms of heat waves, extrem weather, floods and droughts. But that's only a few percent of the heat accumulated on Earth. More than 90 % of that heat is stored, each year, in the oceans. How is that for an efficient buffer? Without the oceans we would already be facing much harsher changes due to climate change. The oceans spare us from facing reality. Damned nature.

Meanwhile I rock gently back and forth on my raft – the Rahiti Tane, so full of personality and crewed with such a lovely croup of people – genuinely proud to be running a full-scale research program purely on solar power. I think of all the interesting research questions I get to address. My only concern is that we are running out of fuses. (Well, and that we are almost out of chocolate...). And then the thought strikes me: this is all in vain. Nobody will care. There cannot possibly be anything wrong with something so beautiful. Damned nature.

Could the ocean, even if it were sitting at the negotiating table at the climate summit in Paris, arguing for the strong climate agreement it really needs, convince anybody to sign anything? I do not know. Because the ocean is SO beautiful. But what would it have said? Now, THAT is an interesting question.

I, Bora

(2015-11-28) Bora loves the team and life on board. He can not cook, but is happy to wash the plates. Yesterday he fixed the guara, and without experience with wood, but managed fine together with Esteban. He likes steering a course. Right now he is playing it like a trombone while singing "My Way". He lost his iPhone and he lost a sock. He believes Triton has good use for it, and is happy to lend them to him. But he is happy that he found his swimming trunks. From time to time he dreams of a dry and quiet bed. And also dry shoes. And it is time to catch fish, the level of protein in the body might be low. His head is very clean and he feels very good.

Balsa Mama

(2015-11-28) Today I want to give you a guided tour onboard at Rahiti Tane, or Balsa Mama as we have started to call her. At 03.45 in the morning it all starts for me. Bora, our Russian doctor, tickles my foot to wake me up. It is time to take the 0400-0800 watch. When I open my eyes I see straight over to the navigation desk. The GPS glows like a bug in the dark. It tells our speed, position and course over ground. On the port side of me Cecilie, our scientist, wobbles up and down on her inflatable matress. On the starbord side lies Esteban, our carpenter, photographer and Chilean. He almost always lies in a lotus position, wonder how that is possible in a sleepingbag. Anyways, to get out, I have to climb over a box filled with scientific equipment. All this happens inside the hut, which is placed in the middle of the raft. Up til now it has been quite dry in there. But these last couple of days, the captain has complained about water in her bunk. So as the raft sinks down in the sea, and the sea builds up to 4 meter waves, we regulary get the deck cleaned, both inside and outside. Also inside we have the office department, or the scientific area. Cecilie sits there all day long, just outside to take the met-observation, drink a cup of coffee and watch the sunrise.

Because watching the sunrise, drink a cup of coffee and when the sunrise is good, listen to "Morgenstemning" by Grieg, has become a ritual onboard. It all happens in the stern, where we steer the raft. That area is also called the bubblebath-area. All the waves comes in there. It is also nice to take a swim in the eddy behind the raft, if you want a relaxing swimming trip. If you want more action, you can take your swimming on the side of the raft. With a rope around your waist, you can swim as long as you keep the raft's speed. The swimming-area is next to what we call the livingroom. This is in the leeward side of the hut. We have three boxes to sit on, and the best view in the whole Pacific. Flying fish, dorados, dolphins, whales coming up 1,5 m from the raft, birds, all kinds of entertainment happens here. This is also the best place to tan, because there is no wind. It is Pål's favourite place on the raft I think, cause he always sits there reading his book.

In the front of the hut, we have the kitchen. This is where Signe is the boss. She has all kinds of secrets since she is the stuert, the person responsible for food onboard. We have lots of pots and pans, and can make all kinds of food. Lasange, bread, pancakes are some of the favourites. In the front we also have lots of space. Esteban uses it to practice yoga. I like to hang upside down in the sail there. We also got some guaras, some more scientific equipment and tools there. On the port side of the hut, we have the "lesesal". This is were Kari likes to bring her book. Leaning on the dinghy, which is placed up towards the hutwall. And not to forget our toilet which is behind the dinghy, in the back on the port side. These days when we have waves up till 4 m, it is very exciting to sit there. The toilet is on the windward side, same as the waves. So one have to make sure that your pants don't get filled with water as you sit there.

Finally in the far front, we have the shower. Bora uses it every day. The bottom logs continue 2,5 m after the deck, and all the waves hitting the raft make a shower. The area is regulary used by the whole crew. On saturdays the men are banished to the back of the raft, so the female part of the crew can undress and take a shower. The temperature is 21 degrees, says Cecilie's instruments.

So this is our raft and a part of our daily life. We would like to have visitors, so if you happen to be just between Peru and the Easter Island, you are more than welcome to visit.

How much plastics do we find?

(2015-11-27) We try to run the Manta trawl daily. It sifts through Pacific water for an hour or two, looking for plastics on the side of the Tupac Yupanqui. We have not found large amounts of plastics, at least not enough to conclude that we are in a plastic gyre. However, we always find plactic fragments, and these pictures document today's catch. In picture 1, a small blue fragment is seen in the sift we use when emptying the trawl. In picture 2, today's three fragments can be seen, including a soft, transparent, round piece of plastic onto which plantlife has attached itself. The underlying grid is 5mm. Picture 3 shows plastic line fragments that were attached to our fishing line this morning — this is also a common occurrence. Picture 4 could be plastic, but isn't. These are small blue animals of some kind. Can someone help us identify them? Picture 5 and 6 shows plastic which is securely attached to our raft: a birthday balloon for Ola, and (on the lower right side) empty water bottles. Fortunately, we have 4000 metres of kevlar line to tie these up with.

Celebrating Ola

(2015-11-27) Another birthday was celebrated mid-ocean today as Ola turned 24. He was woken to (a meager) breakfast in bed, and then called up by the legendary Rahiti Tane VHF Raft Choir, feat. their lead singer Bora. Ola's crewmates baked one of Baker Hansen's famous bread recipies, with just enough salt water. Other treats on the table included mustard, our last piece of cheese, and jam. Gifts were presented, and a blue balloon hung to mark the occation. Plastic. Must remember to dispose of properly.

Water, water, everywhere...

(2015-11-27) ... still many drops to drink. The video shows Torgeir in a heroic effort to save water bottles from underneath the deck. They were stored there until we realized that the evermoving sea was rough on them, and that some started taking in salt water. Tupac Yupanqui lost around 300 litres of potable water, but this is less than 10% of our supplies and we have plenty of water for the rest of our journey to Easter Island. We may have to refill our supplies there. This is less than ideal, as water is a precious resource on the island.

Gunvor Storaas, a true sailoress

(2015-11-27) Gunvor Storaas is one of the true sailors onboard Rahiti Tane. She not only sails, the also teaches sailing at our favorite school: Fosen. In this authentic VHF conversation Gunvor discloses the hardships her students suffer, and what motivates a 16-year old girl to take up traditional wooden boats as a hobby. If you have the same urge, you should also head for the Hardanger Maritime Center.

The pictures above reveal a smiling, hard-working, and social person – one who can both prepare for a challenge, and be part of it. (Editor's disclosure: the views expressed in this paragraph may be influenced by the fact that Gunvor bribed him with bowl of delicious mango chutney while on board the Rahiti Tane.)

Snake mackerel, anyone?

(2015-11-26) In Thor Heyerdahl's book about the Kon-Tiki Expedition, he writes about about a special fish:
The fish was over three feet long, as slender as a snake, with dull black eyes and a long snout with a greedy jaw full of long sharp teeth ... Bengt too was woken at last by all the noise. He sat up drowsily in his sleeping bag and said solemnly: "No, fish like that doesn't exist" ... Bengt was not far wrong. It appeared later that we six sitting round the lamp in the bamboo cabin were the first men to have seen this fish alive.

The number of men who have seen this fish alive increased as of last night. Ola, who now tops the Tupac Yupanqui fishing charts, caught the beast during night watch. The fish has not been eaten. We may be hungry at times, but we're not that hungry. Yet.

Thanksgiving on the rafts

(2015-11-26) There are no turkeys to be eaten on the Kon-Tiki2 rafts, but the crew is still thankful on this day:
  • Cecilie is thankful for the camaraderie with follow sailors and the peace of being without news of war and aggression
  • Kari is thankful to have a crew who stands tall when it matters the most
  • Pål is grateful for his family
  • Signe (yawns) is grateful for staying in bed a little longer (12-4 watch)
  • Esteban is grateful to be part of this expedition
  • Boris stands next to him and is also grateful for this adventure, and he is happy to do all the jobs he gets (right now he is making an improvised guara board). And he comes over and says "and we are lucky to have the wind on our faces"
  • Gunvor appreciates that she has the opportunity to be at sea, the moments, challenges and experiences
  • Jostein is thankful for this expedition and to all who has made it possible. He is especially thankful for new friends from Fosen, for all the experience and learning, for all the memories I have had and will get, and for the adventure!
  • Øyvin is thankful for having had two hours of sailing straight towards Easter Island today
  • Ola is thankful for good wind and sunshine
  • Torgeir is thankful that we still have food, for the rice an beans we have left, and for the fish we caught
  • Andrey is thankful to those who helped build the rafts
  • David is thankful for being away from the news
  • Håkon is thankful for the satellites above us, and for solar panels

A tour of our mast

(2015-11-26) The mast on Tupac Yupanqui is 15 metres high. It has several functions. First, it holds the yard with the sail. Second, it has some technical installations, including two VHF antennas and a weather station. Last, but not least, the mast is our flagpole. To make sure these vital function continue to work, the mast was inspected today. David was hoisted up first, then Håkon, who brought his camera. Pictures can hardly convey the near-religious experience one has in the top of such mast. Especially in 15 knots wind with 2 meter waves. Thankfully, a strong crew ensured a smooth return to to the somewhat safer deck.

Raft sushi

(2015-11-25) The tuna caught earlier today was turned into a fantastic birthday dinner, by Torgeir, for Torgeir. The protein-challenged crew followed the chef's prepartions with hungry eyes in our open-air kitchen. For desert: a magnificant sunset.

In other news, we have taken stock of our fresh water supplies on Tupac Yupanqui. We have lost around 300 litres of potable water due to salt water intrusion. This, however, is less than 10% of our supplies and we have plenty of water for the rest of our journey to Easter Island. We may have to refill our supplies there. This is less than ideal, as water is a precious resource on the island. Can't we just collect rain water? Nope. We've had very little rain on the journey so far, mostly we have mist-like precipitation at night.

Gratulerer med dagen, TH#2!

Despite instantaneous global communications and all of the impatience they have spawned, many explorers still yearn to understand the slow mechanisms by which ancient people created the original global economy. For them, it is no shock that we of the modern world did not invent worldwide trade networks. They understand that we have merely accelerated connections that were created by transoceanic explorers thousands of years ago. The moment Kon-Tiki reached Polynesia successfully, all of the world’s oceans, especially the Pacific, became archaeological seas, where people could explore not just the present and the future, but the remote past of our distant ancestors. Inside the global oceanic laboratory Thor Heyerdahl created, Torgeir Higraff seeks nothing less than to understand the paths of human global exploration. The sailor tacks against the wind, the drifter must of necessity journey wherever the wind blows. One fights nature, one submits to it. The sailor is heroic, the drifter, romantic. Even though the drifter often raises sail, he does so only with the wind directly – or very nearly so – at his back. This is not in any way to suggest that one can drift on a balsa raft knowing nothing about the rudiments of sailing. It is merely to propose that we still know how to sail, in a systematic way, because sailboats are still in use all over the world. On the other hand, it is very likely that no one had attempted a transoceanic voyage on a raft for at least several hundred years prior to the Kon-Tiki expedition in 1947. Now, after the expeditions of Thor Heyerdahl and Torgeir Higraff, we are close to understanding how such craft were navigated in prehistory.

Gratulerer med dagen, TH#2!

Congratulations, Torgeir Higraff!

(2015-11-25) Kon-Tiki2 Expedition leader Torgeir Higraff celebrated his 43th birthday today, at 14 degrees South, 92 degrees West. He was greeted by the Rahiti Tane Raft Choir, in a special performance of Hurra for deg. Raft doctor and media celebrity Boris Romanov then performed his own interpretation, to be included on the B-side of the single. In an unprecedented move, Torgeir's crewmates at Tupac Yupanqui had baked a chocolate cake! Andrey performed a celebratory tune on his banjo, and Håkon gave a speech where he thanked Torgeir for continuing Thor Heyerdahl's legacy and for giving the crew a chance to join his Expedition. Ola had not one, but two special gifts for Torgeir. First, a self-caught tuna fish (which bravely fought against his fate: birthday dinner for Torgeir!). Second, a self-made fid (which is used when splicing rope).

Rainbow over Rahiti Tane

(2015-11-25) A beautiful rainbow graced Rahiti Tane this morning. In the picture, you can see the full rainbow, part of the sail on Tupaq Yupanqui, and – with difficulty – a small dot on the horizon, which is the Rahiti Tane raft (inside the rainbow, on the left side). The smallness is due to the wide-angled lens, and the superior sailing by the Rahiti Tane crew. As a bonus picture, we add a zoomed sunset view of Rahiti Tane last night.

In other news, we are aware of reports of an earthquake in Peru. Here at sea, 800 nautical miles from the Peruvian coastline, we have not seen or felt anything unusual during the night watch. Thanks to those who reported, we appreciate your concern.

Flyt Forlag

(2015-11-24) For our English-speaking audience, this story offers pictures of happy people reading real paper books on a raft in the Pacific. However, if you read Norwegian, you should look more closely. On the shelves of Rahiti Tane, Signe picks out her favorite book from Flyt Forlag, a Norwegian publisher specializing in maritime books. Our bookshelves are stacked with books from Flyt forlag, to Øyvin's delight. He is our most avid reader, and has – really – read through most of the collection on Tupac Yupanqui. Ola is also an eager reader, while Håkon has found that the drifters provide perfect back support for reading about Colin Archer. Many of the books are about past expeditions, reminding us that we are not the first adventurers to sail the oceans. Others are self-help books, like Lær å seile ("Learn to sail"). Perhaps we should have read that one before we set out?

One of the favorite titles on our journey is Flåteferder i Kon-Tikis kjølvann (orignal title "Sea Drift: Rafting Adventures in the Wake of Kon-Tiki") written by J. P. Capelotti. It so happens that the author has sent a greeting to the Kon-Tiki2 Expedition. He writes;

This is a fascinating experiment and one I know will lead to new insights into the navigation of prehistoric routes between the Americas and Polynesia. Lykke til!

Thank you, perhaps we can provide a new chapter for the next edition?

Sunshine!

It is Tuesday November 24, we are west of 90 W, and we have entered a new type of weather, after being pounded with strong southeasterlies, huge swells, and cloudy, humid conditions for more than two weeks. Today was sunny, calm and wonderful. So sunny in fact, that we pulled out yet another instrument from the Rahiti Tane toybox. In this case a "Microtop" to measure aerosol optical depth of the atmosphere over oceans. These instruments require a clear view of the sun, so ours had so far been collecting dust.

With the Microtop measurements we participate in a global network of 500 voluntary ships who contribute to monitor how the aerosol content of the atmosphere changes with space and time. The program is coordinated by NASA. Remember, these particles have an overall cooling effect on the atmosphere, but regionally they can have a huge impact on how temperature and even precipitation varies from place to place. So that's why it is so important that the voluntary ships keep collecting their data, year in and year out. And today, we did our little part :)

Why are we sailing rafts to Easter Island an back to South America?

Thor Heyerdahl proved that ancient South Americans could drift across the Pacific on their rafts. It was a ethnological theory he worked on all his career. Is there more to be done? I think so, and this is what the Kon-Tiki2 Expedition is all about.

Kon-Tiki could not be steered, they could not set a course, keep it, nor define destination. The Kon-Tiki could never have reached a specific target, especially not Easter Island which is too far south for the prevailing currents. Still, Heyerdahl was the first to provide knowledge about balsarafts in modern times. He provoked the archaologists and ethnologists to dig into the prehistory of Polynesia, and inspired millions of people academically.

Heyerdahl proved that balsa rafts could carry people for months at sea. But ancient South Americans could do more: they could steer their rafts, and navigate anywhere in the Pacific. When wind and current push us on Rahiti Tane and Tupac Yupanqui north, we sail towards west and even southeast. How is this possible? Because we are not copying Kon-Tiki, we are copying the rafts from prehistory and early history based on archaeological and historical evidence Heyerdahl was not aware of in 1947. Coastal maritime civilizations in South America had sophisticated navigation skills. Like them, we use guara boards (also called dagger boards) to set course. On our rafts, we adjust he guara boards day and night and we document all major movements of the boards.

Recent studies have shown that South American DNA entered Easter Island between 1300AD and 1500AD. The Kon-Tiki2 Expedition shows how people could have travelled there, and how they sailed back. We also present how Polynesians could sail their rafts to South America. Noone have sailed between Easter Island and South America on a raft in modern times. We are well on our way on the first leg, but the biggest challenges are still ahead.

[Also check our science program with NTNU, NIVA and Kongsberg, and read more about why we do this]

Boris Romanov, our medical doctor

(2015-11-24) Boris Romanov is the medical doctor of the Kon-Tiki2 Expedition. In this authetic VHF conversation, he discusses medical incidents on our rafts, appendectomies (not his favorite topic), and his fellow Russian doctor Yuri Senkevich. Yuri joined several of Thor Heyerdahl's expeditions and later became a well-respected TV personality in the USSR. Perhaps Boris also have a career in media? You heard him here first!

The pictures above reveal that Boris is both serious and humorous. This is a good combination for a raft doctor – he is serious enough for us to trust him with our lives, and he's humorous enough for his fellow crew on Rahiti Tane to enjoy his company for six weeks.

Another beautiful day

(2015-11-24) The weather has improved and we now have hours of sun every day. This is good for solar panels and crew. In the first picture, the men of Tupac Yupanqui raise the sails. Later, they discover that water bottles stowed underneath their beds have been damaged by the constant movements of the raft. The bottles are moved to the front deck to check for salt content. Meanwhile, a beautiful Peruvian booby came flying by, looking for a snack. The little fellow in picture 5 hid in the Manta trawl, which primarily tries to find plastics. Who is he, and what is he doing at the surface? Did he live on our raft, and jumped ship? Or, is he a representative of the crustaceans, which the white-bellied storm petrel – yesterday's mystery bird, identified by several readers, thanks! – is known to eat? The diameter of the shell is 8-10mm. As always, we are eager to hear from onshore marine biologists. (The image is taken with a 1:1 macro lens and further magnified 2x. You can see our siv under the crab.)

Finally, we see Rahiti Tane in a magnificent Pacific sunset.

Installations under water

(2015-11-23) The three-stage sampler from NIVA is a big water pump which uses massive amounts of energy (raft scale). It floats on the side of the raft while it pumps exactly 15.000 litres of water through three filters of varying sizes. We preserve these filters so that onshore researchers later can detect plastics. The sampler was launched today, as was Jostein, our under-water photographer. In these pictures you can see the sampler with the floater box on top. The floater box is carefully calibrated to keep the sampler floating in water. The blue rope is an electrical cable which transmits power as well as control signals; power is cut off after extactly 15.000 litres.

In the last picture, you can see our raft from underneath, including the Kongsberg EK80 echo sounders, guara boards, and a fish!

Tracking our rafts

(2015-11-23) Our home page has a little map on the left side, showing the progress of the Kon-Tiki2 rafts. If you zoom in, you can see marked positions where the rafts have sent tracking signals. Each raft has one Iridium GO unit (seen in picture 1, 2, and barely in 3) which continously tracks our positions with the built-in GPS receiver. Every 30 minutes, an email with the current position is automatically sent to our web server. There, a small script gently massages the reported positions add them to a small Google Map on our home page (If you want to play with our data set, you can find our reported positions here)

Also, the Iridium GO unit sets up a small wifi network on each raft. Through this network, the crew can send and receive email. In picture 4, the Samsung Galaxy J2 – which comes with Opera Max – is used to connect from outside the cabin. In picture 5, you can see the small outside antenna of the Iridium GO. The Irididium satellites are 780 kilometres above us, and the bandwidth is limited (2.4kbs). However, small text-based messages get through and this is a much-appreciated communication channel with the outside world. Feel free to send us email and stop for a moment to think about the wonderful journey your bits will take!

Animals around us

(2015-11-23) We owe thanks to readers who have helped us identify species seen from the Kon-Tiki2 rafts. In the whale movie posted, Megaptera novaeangliae was suggested. Someone else called it a Rorqual. Others, again, said humpback. These are all names for the same whale: Humpback = Megaptera novaeangliae = one of the larger rorqual species. In the second whale sighting, several identified it as a pilot whale.

When we asked what bird it was, the answer quickly came back: a Peruvian booby. It came back today, shown in the first picture.

We now need help with another puzzling bird, shown in picture 2, 3, and 4. It flies like a swallow, with quick turns close to the water. But it doesn't seem to fish. And in close-ups, like above, it looks more rounded than a swallow. What could it be? And what is it doing out here, 700 nautical miles from shore?

As an extra bonus, we add a picture of our security line, which has become a cozy home for some.

Epic drone footage from Kon-Tiki2

(2015-11-22) From above, the two Kon-Tiki2 rafts look spectacular set against the magnificant Pacific ocean. Taking off from the front deck is a challenge, and landing it amongst ropes, sails and sailors even more so. But we managed, this time.

Footage from our time in Lima is also available: clip1 clip2 clip3 clip4 clip5 clip6

Week 2 at sea:
Pacific cuisine on Rahiti Tane

(2014-11-22) Signe and Gunvor write: We receive quite a few questions about what we eat onboard the rafts. We went shopping about a week before departure and bought what then seemed like a ridiculous amount of food. After repacking and stowing it, however, it seemed to have shrunk. How much do 14 sailors eat during what may become 135 days? How much fish will we catch, and how many oranges, onions, carrots and other fruit and vegetables could we bring without them going bad? In addition to fresh foods we bought what we could find of tinned food, dried food, and quite a lot of rice, beans and lentils. We brought a variety of spices to be able to season things differently from day to day.

Every day starts off with oatmeal for breakfast, accompanied by fresh orange juice and a cup of coffee. We left Peru with 50 kg of oranges and now we're down to the last 10 kg – and dreading the day we'll run out. Lunch is usually rice with leftovers (if the night watch hasn't already eaten them), bread made from porridge and flour, or a fish if we're lucky enough to have caught one. The highlight of the day, however, is dinner. Following is a list of what we have had this past week:

  • Sunday: green lentils with rice in peanutsauce followed by pancakes and fried bananas
  • Monday: quinoa with red pesto and mango salsa
  • Tuesday: falafel with pan fried bread and orange salad
  • Wednesday: pacific onion soup topped with cheese
  • Thursday: lentil burgers with mustard sauce and rice
  • Friday: fried dorado and rice with beans and dried mushrooms, accompanied by ceviche
  • Saturday: bean lasagne, tinned peaches and chocolate for dessert

We're quickly running out of fresh vegetables – we'll need to become more creative next week. So boys on Tupac, what did you have?

Today

(2015-11-21) Cecilie Mauritzen writes: Today turned out to be the nicest day so far. In the afternoon the sun came out in full glory, shining over our newly cleaned raft (Saturday is cleaning day on Rahiti Tane). Even the bodies were cleaned – with more than 21 degrees in the water, and the sunshine, we definitely got tropical Pacific feel. Even if we go back to the normal, gray, cold weather tomorrow, the memories of glorious Saturday November 21st will stay with us long :)

Spaghetti, anyone?

(2015-11-21) One of the items we worked hard to import to Peru was 4000 metres of 3mm Kevlar rope. The rope is used to lower and raise scientific instruments and cameras in the ocean. 4000 metres is enough the reach the deep ocean floor below us. However, we have a problem. The rope was delivered on bobbins partially made from cardboard. When stored underneath deck (which is a wet zone on a balsa raft) the cardboard has disintegrated and the rope has come off the bobbins. Getting the rope onto the SIMA-made steel bobbin will be an massive job. In the pictures, sailors Ola and David have started the work, shuffling a bag of unraveled rope between them.

Crew profile: Ola Borgfjord

(2015-11-21) Ola Borgfjord is the master sailor on board Tupac Yupanqui. He is the one who is awakened in the middle of the night when other sailors need help. Ola was also instrumental in designing the rafts, and testing scale models at NTNU. In this podcast Ola does not disclose all his secrets, but he offers you a rebate next time your order a viking ship and a balsa raft from Båskott Trebåtbyggeri (FB)!

Giant dorados secure supplies

(2015-11-21) Master fisherman David Short has done it again: a huge dorado was caught this morning, securing fat and proteins for the crew for days. Along with fellow morning watchman Jostein, the fish was tied with a rope before being lifted and photographed. The back deck is slippy due to waves breaking and the dorado, for sure, wanted to escape the pots and pans of Tupac Yupanqui. David's phone number will be disclosed when we get closer to shore – right now we're as far away from a cellphone network as anyone can get.

Rahiti Tane also reports a huge catch: master fisherman Esteban caught a 6 kg dorado, described as a blinking metallic wonderfish over VHF. Pictures will be posted in due course.

Life on a raft

(2015-11-20) After 12 days the raft teams of Kon-Tiki2 have settled into the a way of living. On Tupac Yupanqui, the youngest crew member Jostein Heidenstrøm (19) has done what many Norwegian boys did in the era of sailships – he went from school to work as a sailor. But Jostein didn't just join a sailing shim, he joind a raft! He writes:
The adventure has finally started! These first weeks have been amazing. I've been tired from time to time because of seasickness and waking up at 4AM every night, but it has all been a experience. I have learned and seen lots of new stuff already! The first days at sea were very hectic, but now all the tasks are more routine and things run smoothly. I like the raft life and I am looking forward to spend the next weeks on this raft and to celebrate Christmas on Easter Island. To sail a raft and live on e a raft is fantastic!

(Editor's note: As can be seen in the pictures above, Jostein takes on many roles onboard: raft clown, swimmer, master fisherman, budding scientist, and photographer. As we get hungrier, we especially like him as fisherman :)

Whalesurfing

(2015-11-20) Whale sightings occur almost daily on the Kon-Tiki2 rafts. (In comparison, we have not seen any sharks.) In these pictures, you can see the whale with the Rahiti Tane raft in the background. Due to our raft being low in water, we the whale is almost coming right at us. Again, we ask for help from marine biologists: What kind of whale is it?

Drifters released

(2015-11-20) Two UFO-like creatures were released by the Kon-Tiki Expedition at midnight, local time. The creatures have been kept in captivity on the front deck since our departure from Lima. Last night, Cecilie Mauritzen, Kon-Tiki2's chief scientist, gave orders to release them into the ocean. Once there, they join a herd of ocean drifters that report currents, temperature, and athmospheric pressure. Part of the Global Drifter Program (GDP), the Kon-Tiki Expedition will release 20 of these drifters in waters where few vessels travel. Last night, the sea was rough with winds at 25 knots. Notice how the person releasing the drifter is tied to the raft to not follow along with the drifter.

Welcome to the front deck

(2015-11-20) The front deck of the Tupac Yupanqui is alluring, especially in those rare moments when the sun comes out. We invite you to join the photographer, take stroll on our front deck!

Kontikikari's voice

(2015-11-19) Kari Skår Dahl is the captain of the Rahiti Tane raft. In this authetic VHF conversation, she discloses secrets from her raft (backbreaking exercises in the morning), from her work (food is a favorite topic among professionan rescuers), and a nearby Russian doctor. In the pictures, Captain Kari can be seen with her usual smile, and your starstruck correspondent. The two last pictures are take before leaving Callao. If you read Norwegian, you should also visit Kontikikari's blog.

Today's menu

(2015-11-19) Hungry sailors were offered a filling lunch on Tupac Yupaqui today. Yesterday's catch was turned into a delicious meal by our master chef Torgeir. He also found use for some of the vegetables we have, but do not know the names of. David, the fisherman, was happy to see his dorado cooked up, and asked for his phone number to be published. Unfortunately, we're well outside any cellphone network and any interested parties must wait until we reach shore. We hope that will be on Easter Island, but winds must change for us to get there. Could someone turn on the easternly, please?

In other news, the sun grazed us and our solar panels this morning. A bird was spotted from the front deck. We know the name in Norwegian (havsule), but couldn't think of the English term. Do let us know.

Our rafts

(2015-11-19) The Kon-Tiki2 Expedition sails two rafts, from South America to Easter Island. Roundtrip. The rafts are Rahiti Tane and Tupac Yupanqui. Some of these pictures are photographed from a dinghy; each raft carries a small dinghy with an outboard motor. Travelling from one raft to the other can be dangerous. You do not want to left in the Pacific on a dinghy with a broken engine. Nor do you want ot be crushed by a balsa log as the dinghy approaches the raft. But the dinghy allows for wonderful photos to be taken. We wish we had a bluer sky to offer, but the eather has been overcast most of the time since we left Callao. We hope this will change as we further away from the mainland and the Humbholdt current.

Catch of the day

(2015-11-18) The Tupac Yupanqui crew cheered on master fisherman David Short as he reeled in a fine dorado from the Tupac Yupanqui deck today. At risk were significant supplies of fat and protein and David did not dissappoint us. David's fishing skills were further enhanced by premimum fishing gear from Penn and Abu.

A rare visit to Rahiti Tane

(2015-11-18) Today, your correspondent had a rare opportunity to visit Rahiti Tane, the raft with a female captain and mixed crew. I am happy to report that Captain Kari's raft is well-organized, well-fed, and, well, perhaps, slightly better-smelling than the Tupac Yupanqui raft. In the second picture, Kari pulls the sail while Signe keeps an eye on the rigging. In the third picture, Cecilie and the raft mascot waves to onshore followers. Notice how the eggs hang securely from the ceiling. The fourth picture shows the drying rack, radiating neatness. Thereafter sailors Signe and Gunvor discusses sailing strategies with Ola, while the men of Rahiti meet.

Local resident greets Kon-Tiki2

(2015-11-16) The Kon-Tiki2 expedition was greeted by one of the local residents of the South Pacific today. As can be seen in the video, a whale stopped by to take a deep breath alongside Tupac Yupanqui. Any marine biologsts out there who can help determine what kind of whale we met? Send us an email!

Workout session on Tupac Yupanqui

(2015-11-16) On the testosterone-laden Tupac Yupanqui raft, front-deck workout sessions bring out formidable muscle power. Hardened by raising sails and lowering guara boards on night watches, these men risk their lives inches above shark-infested waters. Notice how the rigging is reflected in Torgeir's sunglasses, how Jostein desperatly brings himself up on the 10th (and final) lapse, and how Håkon disguises his deep fears 4000 meters above the ocean floor.

NIVA's three-stage sampler deployed

(2015-11-15) The Kon-Tiki2 Expedition today deployed an advanced three-stage sampler in the South Pacific. The sampler, developed and sposored by NIVA, the Norwegian Water Research Institute, pumped 15,000 litres of South Pacific water through three filtes at a rate of 5 litres per second. The goal of the operation is to detect plastic fragments of varying sizes. The pump drew significant amounts of power from the solar-based power bank. The crew, however, were happy to sacrifice electrons in the name of science – electrons what would otherwise be wasted in onboard personal entertainment systems. The sampler is heavy and must be handled by 2-3 people. Conditions at sea were dynamic, with winds around 14 knots. The sail was lowered during deployment. More pictures

Onshore programmer charts Kon-Tiki2 voyage

(2015-11-15) Onshore progammer Ian Short has created a new map to chart voyage of the Kon-Tiki2 rafts. The new map charts our progress through the Pacific, and indiates speed, distance traveled, distance left, and even our estimated time of arrival (ETA) on Easter Island. The map is based on coordinates uploaded every 30 minutes by the Iridium GO units (seen in picture 2) that both rafts carry. The coordinates are available to anyone who would like make maps from here. The old map indicates each observation as discrete points (picture 3). For now, both are available. We also have an old-fashioned magnetic compass onbord, and this is the instrument we most rely on when sailing into the sunset.

(We can also reveal that Ian Short is David's father. At yesterday's breakfast, the crew put bets on when the raft would reach Easter Island. David's bet was on December 19, which is the same as Ian's map indicated when first published today. A coincidence? We don't think so :-)

Flying fish on deck

(2015-11-14) The first flying fish landed on the deck of Tupac Yupanqui this morning. It was quickly turned into bait, and Torgeir went fishing. Nothing. But we have five weeks or so left on this raft and will not give up.

In other news, Jostein removed a layer of salt from the solar panels, and Andrey and Daved held a concert to mark that we have been at sea for a week.

We are 300 nautical miles from the Peruvian coast. We have 1750 nautical miles left to Easter Island (as the crow flies). Exercise for readers: when will we get here?

Trawling for plastics

(2015-11-13) The Manta Trawl is an ingenious device for collecting plastic fragments in the ocean. Our raft pulls the trawl for one hour and thereafter analyze and collect the samples. Today, Jostein and Håkon found two plastic fragments (we think) and some hapless creatures. The samples are photographed, and the position and conditions of trawling is recorded. The plastics fragments are stored for onshore analysis. Some of the crew are eager ot take part in scientific research, others are more interested in the sailing part of the expedition: how to best sail a raft towards Easter Island. If this were a reality-show, no doubt the producers would have found conflicts between the two groups. On Tupac Yupanqui, however, only bliss is found. Except for the hapless creatures.

Kon-Tiki2 exposé: how they catch fish

(2015-11-13) A series of pictures from the Rahiti Tane raft reveals how fish is caught by the Kon-Tiki2 Expedition: local fishermen provide supplies. Camila II was generous to share from their catch, and the crew threw all remaining Peruvian currency in return. An ethical exchange of proteins and currency therefore took place. However, as the rafts venture further from the Peruvian coasts, fishing boats will disappear. Will the crew be able to provide for themselves? They have the best equipment, and they have been trained by Dr Hook himself. We'll follow this issue closesly in the time to come.

[The crew on Tupac Yupanqui, the other raft of the expedition, insists that there have been no contact with fishmongers, and that they have, in fact, caught one dorado themselves. Really.]

Pacific raft cuisine

(2015-11-12) We have generous supplies of food on our rafts. Some of it is meant for our return journey from Easter Island, and is stowed away. Other items are readily available for aspiring Pacific chefs. In the first picture, you see our home-made bread, based on a special bread mix with salt water from Baker Hansen in Oslo. Cecilie has even mixed in some mango, to the delight of Kari and Pål. In the second picture, the crew of Rahiti Tane hosts a dinner on the front deck, underneath a partially lowered sail. Signe, the vegetarian chef, served a fantastic meal with mango, onion and rice. Jostein (left) is eating, as is Pål and Cecilie. The fact that David, our British sailor who has taught himself sailor-Norwegian, pulls out a garbage bag is purely coincidental. The other pictures are from today's lunch on Tupac Yupanqui where chef Torgeir served a fantastic two-course meal based on one fish, a dorado caught by Jostein this morning. We still have fresh vegetables and fruits.

Jotron help secure our rafts

(2015-11-12) Safety is a concern when you set out on balsa rafts across the Pacific. The Kon-Tiki2 Expedition carry advanced safety equipment from Jotron. Jotron is a trusted name in maritime electronics, providing safety equipment for ships, oil rigs – and even balsa rafts! They happen to be based in Larvik, Thor Heyerdahl's home town, and they proudly sponsor our expedition. On board both raft have AIS SARTs (which tell others where we are in emergency), floating VHF radios, and strobe lights for the full crew. This equipment is so important to us that we delayed departure from Callao when the shipment was delayes. In the pictures, Captain Øyvin Lauten and Expedition Leader Torgeir Higraff can be seen with the orange Jotron devices.

Soaring above and looking below our rafts

(2015-11-12) The Kon-Tiki2 expedition brings more electronic devices than any raft has ever carried before. When our resident drone took off from the front deck of Tupac Yupanqui, it was a first. Taking off between sails, ropes and sailors is a challenge — landing it even more so. Our bandwidth does not permit up to publish HD movies, but even stills look gorgeous from that angle.

Below water, Rahiti Tane has a ferrybox which measures temperature, oxygen levels, pH values, and various other parameters scientists are looking for. One part of the ferrybox is the CTD, which measures conductivty (i.e. salinity), temperature, and depth. The pictures show how the CTD hangs under the raft, which moves slowly through water. NIVA, the Norwegian Water Research Institute is providing us with equipment and support — both technical and emotional. In a year of El Nino, collecting accurate data in the South Pacific is especially worthwhile. The swimmer with camera is Jostein Heidenstrøm

Meeting at sea

(2015-11-11) The two rafts of the Kon-Tiki2 Expedition met at sea today. People, skills, material items and good will moved between the rafts. The first picture shows Boris and Pål swimming between rafts. In the second picture, Captain Kari greets the other raft (du kan lese bloggen hennes). We also caught fish today! The pictures don't tell the full story, but Jostein, Cecilie, Pål and Esteban are excited to have more proteins on the raft. Meanwhile, Ola and Gunvor fixes sails.

In other news, the resident drone secured som epic footage. We believe it's the first time a drone has taken off from a balsa raft. Even more fantastic: it landed safely. Pictures will follow.

Science update from Kon-Tiki2

(2015-11-11) Cecilie Mauritzen, resident scientist, talks about problems and possibilities brought by a new day at sea. Our balsa rafts are ideal for some scientific equitmeent as they move slowly through distant waters. However, the rafts have primitive facilities with makeshift solar panels and no hardware store nearby. In the Podcast, Håkon Wium Lie also talks about good news and bad news from the echo soudners department.

Guara-board sailing in the Pacific

(2015-11-10) Our rafts do not have rudders or propellers to steer us towards Easter Island. Instead we use the famed guara boards. These are movable mini-keels placed front, middle and aft. By adjusting these boards up or down a notch, we can set a course – and the 30-ton raft listens willingly.

In other news, BBC asked why you would you cross the Pacific on a wooden raft?, and the meterorological data we submit are available here

Starry night in South Pacific

(2015-11-10) In a late-night talk with Torgeir Higraff, he discusses the bistorical background for the Kon-Tiki2 expedition, the traffic situation in Lima, and importance of starry nights in the South Pacific. Podcast by Håkon Wium Lie. We encourage reuse of content on this page, as long as the Kon-Tiki2 Expedition is credited.

Kongsberg echo sounders look down onto life

(2015-11-10) As part of the scientific program on the Kon-Tiki2 expedition, we bring advanced echo sounders from Kongsberg Maritime. The sounders themselves are mounted underneath the Tupac raft, and the electronics sit inside the cabin. In these pictures, you can see screenshots of from the software analyzing the life below our raft. Spot any sharks?

Oatmeal-con-banana for breakfast, scientific equipment recovered, trawling for plastics

(2015-11-09) The crew on the Tupaq Yupanqui raft were served oatmeal porrage with Peruvian bananas for breakfast. After breakfast, an important scientific instrument was recovered in pristine condition below deck (which can be quite wet on a balsa raft). The Manta Trawl, which filters water looking for plastics, was deployed for an hour and the crew started analyzing the findings (more pictures). We can also report of Fair winds, blue skies, and a starry night in the southern hemisphere. For programmers: Our satellite units report our positions every 30 minutes. As an excercise in programming, we invite people to fetch the raw data and create a better visualization of our progress than can be found on our map. You can fine raw data files here. Please send an email to h@kontiki2.com if you have a solution.

First day at sea – sailing into the sunset

(2015-11-08) The first day at sea started in Lima fog, and ended with two rafts sailing into a beautiful sunset. One of the goals of the expedition is to show that balsa rafts can be sailed, and not just drift. The first day was therefore used to learn the ropes, and – more imoportantly – the guara boards. The rafts do not have rudders, but navigate by raising and lowering guara boards front and aft on the rafts. A fregate from the Peruvian Navy paid us a visit mid day and its helicopter found some compelling angles for their cameras.

Kon-Tiki2 leaves Peru for Easter Island!


(2015-11-07) The Kon-Tiki2 expedition today left Peruvian shores for its journey to Easter Island. In a ceremony at the Esucala Naval, Admiral Delinenars of the Peruvian Nany underlined the importance of the project, for historical and scientific reasons. The crew, and — in particular — expedition leader Torgeir Higraff — was overjoyed to finally head to sea after weeks of hard work. Higraff thanked the Peruvian Navy and all friends in Peru for helping make the Expedition come true, and Roberto Sala in particular. One hour after departing, the Manta trawl from 5 Gyres was out in the watre, looking for plastics. An expedition filled with scientific research and experimental archeology has started!

We're leaving today!

(2015-11-07) After years of planning, and months of hard work in Peru, the two Kon-Tiki2 rafts will leave port today, at 3PM. We will be escorted out into the Humbholdt current and start sailing tomorrow morning. The crew is trying to make sure all is ready and stowed for a 6-week-or-so journey to the wonderful and mysterious island of Rapa Nui. Updates on this page will may not be so frequent in the weeks to come, but we will try to upload images to this page if the satellites are in the right constellations. We would like to thanks our Peruvian hosts at SIMA and the Peruvian Navy at Escuela Navale. Also, we are grateful to the people who have helped us bring equipment into Peru, and those who have helped us with the necessary paperwork and licenses. Let's go!

Technological tour of the Kon-Tiki2 rafts

(2015-11-06) Another wonderful video by Luis Herrera, this time with a focus on the technology on board the rafts. Follow Håkon Wium Lie the Expedition's CTO, on a technological tour on the rafts.

Final preparations

(2015-11-05) Still in port, waiting for final shipment of scientific instruments to join us. Eager to sail, we hear Rapa Nui calling in the far distance.

Kon-Tiki2 launch party

(2015-10-30) In a grand finale at La Punta, the Kon-Tiki2 expedition celebrated the launch and honored the people who have made the building of the rafts possible. Among the speakers were Hege Araldsen (the Norwegian ambassador to Peru), Torgeir Higraff (the Kon-Tiki2 expedition leader), Jan Morten Ruud and Harald Wium Lie (from Nexia, who sponsored the event). Many of the participants hail from Fosen Folk High School, and Wiggo Sten Larsen honored his students there. Roberto and Lilly Sales, Heikki and Heidi Niskanen, and workers from the SIMA shipyard were also called forward to receive a well-deserved applause for their skilled contributions to a challenging project. Finally, Morten Holtan from Thor Heyerdahl High School in Larvik was thanked for his many hours of cheerful woodworking.

Kon-Tiki2 launches two rafts in stylish ceremony

(2015-10-30) In a stylish ceremony at the Peruvian Navy's shipyard, SIMA, the Kon-Tiki2 expedition successfully launched two rafts. After singing the Norwegian and Peruvian national anthems, both vessels and their crew were blessed by Father Guillermo Oviedo of the Escuela Naval del Peru. To the cheering of the crowd, the rafts were baptised and launched in the sea. Expedition leader Torgeir Higraff and officers of the Peruvian navy were interviewed by national and international media. The rafts will proceed to the Escuela Naval for final preparations before the journey to Easter Island.

More pictures

Kon-Tiki2 Press Conference

(2015-10-28) The Kon-Tiki2 expedition met the press at the SIMA shipyard in Lima today. Expedition leader Torgeir Higraff explained how the expedition would contribute to environmental research, as well as experimental archeology. The Peruvian Navy, which hosts the building of the two rafts, underlined the importance of such expeditions.

How to survive six weeks on a raft

(2015-10-27) Fish is a natural food source on the ocean, and the KonTiki2 crew will eat much of it thanks to Dr Hook — also known as Geir Sivertsen — who brought us plenty of fishing gear. An enthusiastic crew increased their chance of having a healthy diet for the next months by parttaking in his lecture on fishing from rafts.

Volunteers, we salute you!

(2015-10-26) Without volunteers, there would be no rafts. We have a fantastic group of young and old people working at the shipyard where the rafts are built. Many of them are highly skilled in the craft of boatbuilding, others come with energy, enthusiasm and a strong will to learn. All of them experience something unique: to build ocean-going rafts in our day and age.

Kon-Tiki2 — documenting the building process

(2015-10-22) Luis Herrera has spent some days with the Kon-Tiki2 builders in Lima. He has produced a fantastic documentary which shows how the rafts are being built. Meet Torgeir Higraff and the others, and learn how to build a raft!

The story of balsa

(2015-10-21) The Kon-Tiki2 rafts are made of balsawood, from the same place where Thor Heyerdahl found his trunks in 1947. What you may not know is that balsa from our supplier 3A Composites is used in so many other modern constructions, some of them essential for energy supply in the future. In this video, you will learn more about the material that will keep us afloat.

Night shifts to day: two rafts take shape

(2015-10-20) Our team of volunteers continue to work hard at the SIMA shipyard in Lima. Two balsa rafts are being built with enormous logs from 3A Composites in Ecuador. New workers arrive daily to make sure the rafts are ready for departure on Nov, 1st. Håkon Wium Lie also talked with two of the crew members: Gunvor and Signe:

Rapid progress in building rafts

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(2015-10-18) A team of volunteers are working hard at the SIMA shipyard in Lima. Two balsa rafts are being built with enormous logs from 3A Composites in Ecuador. We have some advantages over raftbuilders of the past: we have chainsaws and electric drills. Also, we have some disadvantages: we need to deal with customs, and we don't have dictatorial power over the volunteers' schedules. However, the rafts will sail from Lima on Nov 1st and the race is on to make sure they are ready. Fantastic photos by Camote Luis Herrera.

Second Kon-Tiki voyage to map Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Scientific research on the rafts

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(2015-10-10) Cecilie Mauritzen is the Chief Scientist of the Kon-Tiki2 expedition. In this podcast she discusses the scientific research that will take place on the two rafts, the challenge of organizing it, and the possibility of getting a good night's sleep. Favorite quote: We do microplastic in ways one couldn't dream of just three years ago

Searching for wine in Chile

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(2015-10-08) Torgeir Higraff writes from Chile: On the western coast of Norway my mother was raised with nine brothers and sisters as a worker in the fields and mountains only helped by the Norwegian Fjord Horse. For that reason it was relatively easy to choose the wine for our expedition, even in Maipo Valley, Chile. The first thing I noticed in the Odfjell wineyard was several horses of this strong breed, one of the oldest in the world. Then Tomas Uribe presented me to how wine can be made in a sustainable way, and the many challenges in the production line. I share Uribes passion, but not his expertise! The wine we will enjoy in calm days on our rafts is named after what we pick up in huge numbers every night from the bamboo deck, flying fish.

The armada of Chile supports Kon-Tiki2

(2015-10-06) Torgeir Higraff, the Kon-Tiki2 expedition leader writes from Valparaiso: Today I had the pleasure of meeting Rear Admiral Mr José Miguel Rivera Sariego, Deputy Chief of the Estado General High Command of the Chilean Armada. I was received very well in the headquarter in Valparaiso in the office of the admiral. What Mr. Rivera Sariego said I will never forget; "The safety of people in Chilean waters is of great interest of the Chilean Armada, so naturally one of the greatest search and rescue vessels in the world will be stand by for Kon-Tiki2". We are proud to have the generous support from the naval forces of both Peru and Chile – in the name of science.

Logs arrive at shipyard

(2015-10-02) We are overjoyed to finally have balsa logs at the SIMA shipyard where the rafts will be built. Two containers with 11 meter logs arrived today. These logs will be used as crossbars, on top of the main logs (which are 17 meters longs).

GE provides Portable Ultrasound Equipment

(2015-10-01) GE Vscan Dual Probe is an amazing tool when it comes to examine patients at the accident site. Instead of bringing the patient to the machine, it's now possible to bring the machine to the patient. This is a great advantage when treating severely ill patients, when the doctor wants to take a "quick look" at the bedside, or in prehospital environments, like at the Kon-Tiki2 Expedition. In a worst case scenario, the Vscan can help the doctors on board the rafts identify internal bleedings, heart failures, pneumothorax and other acute diseases. In addition, it can be an excellent tool for needle guidance. Hopefully it will NOT be used, but to have it on the raft will increase the safety for all the crew. In the photo: Håvard Giske, Lead Project Integrator, GE Vingmed Ultrasound AS and Pål Børresen, XO on Rahiti Tane.

Raftbuilders arriving in Peru

(2015-09-27) After two weeks of hiking in the Andes, a team of boatbuilders has arrived at the coastal town of Callao in Peru. Hosted by the Peruvian Navy, the team stays at the Escuela Naval del Peru.

Building and testing raft models

(2015-09-03) How should one best build a balsa raft? Pointy front? Shaped logs? Does it make a difference? Crew member Ola Borgfjord (seen in the picture) has build several models along with his father, Einar Borgfjord. The results indicate that a curved front and tapered logs in the back will be a good choice for the rafts.

Balsa trees on their way to Peru

(2015-08-31) Now that the balsa trees are on their way to Peru and the expedition moves location from Ecuador it is time to highlight a few of the team members who will not sail on the logs. On the topic "archaeology of Ecuador" Gustavo Costa von Buchwald has been consulting Kon-Tiki2. The Canadian-born Ecuadorian argue that trade – and the human urge to know the unknown – always was the motive for long distance voyages.

"My relation with the Kon-Tiki dates to 1947, when Thor Heyerdahl contacted my grandfather, Gustavo von Buchwald, also called the King of Balsa in Ecuador, for the supply of balsawood for his expedition. The idea of pre-Columbian long distances voyages has fascinated me all my life. How could 'primitive people' have the knowledge and courage to travel so far away?"

Gustavo Costa von Buchwald has a Master in Archaeology from Guayaquil Ecuador and is a Member of the Academy of History of Ecuador. He has published four books and 47 articles about archaeology, anthropology and ethnology of Ecuador and Peru.

"As a scientific adviser to the Kon-Tiki 2 expedition, I highlight the facts proving that the pre-Columbian world was connected with other parts of the Pacific. The expedition will also help us to consider the negative impact that our "progress" causes on the oceans and environment. The planet earth is the only place we humans can live."

Another Ecuadorian member of the team is the engineer Carlos Giler Hidalgo who also lives in Guayaquil. As one of the experts on balsawood trees working for 3AComposites he has been consulting not only Kon-Tiki2, but also Tangaroa ten years ago (photo of Olav Heyerdahl, Carlos Giler and the coral snake). To pick the best trees for the expedition is one of the most crucial tasks to achieve success.

Scientific workshop at Marintek

(2015-08-26) Marintek, one of the blue planet's foremost marine research labs, hosted a workshop on scientific research onboard the Kon-Tiki2 rafts. Due to the rafts' slow movement through distant parts of the Pacific, the expedition may provide valuable observations. For example, plastic pollution can be measured, as can oxygen levels, salinity and water temperatures. In the pictures, Kon-Tiki2's chief scientist, Cecilie Mauritzen, is discussing with NTNU professors Asgeir Sørensen and Geir Johnson. Meanwhile, Håkon Wium Lie learns how to measure the clarity and color of the sea.

Oslo bakery provides food for hungry Kon-Tiki2 crew

(2015-08-25) Founded in 1861, Baker Hansen is an Oslo-based baking company. In 1893, they sponsored the polar expedition of Fridtjof Nansen, providing bread for him and his men. Now, 122 years later, Baker Hansen is still in business and is still sponsoring explorers and their expeditions. Taking into account that fresh water is a valuable commodity on ocean-going expeditions, Baker Hansen has created a specially crafted flour mixture, one that mixes with 80% salt water and 20% fresh water. The crew of the Kon-Tiki2 expedition will enjoy freshly baked bread every morning of their trip. The rafts will carry sufficient flour mixture to bake 350 loaves, thanks to the sponsorship of Baker Hansen. In the pictures, Morten Hals CEO and his son Knut Andreas Hals meet with members of the crew.

Radio Medico provides medical training

(2015-08-18) Radio Medico at the Haukeland Hospital in Bergen is a centre for maritime medicine in Norway. Today, they provided high-tech medical training for the Kon-Tiki2 crew. The rafts will have two onboard medical doctors, Boris Romanov and Sergey Goltsov, who were introduced to the services Radio Medico can provide. For example, Radio Medico can provide a second opinion before treatment of an illness starts. It will be possible to call Radio Medico from satellite phones onboard the rafts. The training focused on how to communicate and provide the specialists at Haukeland proper facts about the patient. TV2, a Nowegian broadcaster, covered the event.

Meeting with Mayor of Asker

(2015-08-14) Torgeir Higraff and Pål Børresen, both from the Asker area west of Oslo, visited the Mayor of Asker, Lene Conradi. She showed great interest and enthusiasm for the Kon-Tiki2 expedition.

Gylling provides batteries for Kon-Tiki2

(2015-08-14) Gylling Teknikk AS is a provider of top-of-the-line batteries. Among their customers is Redningsselskapet (Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue), who work in challenging maritime enviroments. Kon-Tiki2 will use a solar panel system to charge batteries. In turn, these batteries will run various electonic devices, including life-important satelite transceivers. In the picutres, Einar Tolpinrud, head of the battery unit at Gylling, hands over suitable batteries to Torgeir Higraff, Kon-Tiki2 expedition leader. Håkon Wium Lie, who is in charge of all electrons onboard the rafts, used the opportunity to ask questions about optimal charging strategies. Suitably, the batteries were transported in an electic car.

Brynje provides underwear for Kon-Tiki2

(2015-08-13) Most known for polar expeditions, "Brynje of Norway" has a few underwear-designs much similar to the viking armour. The Tangaroa Expedition was supported by Brynje in 2006 across the Pacific in the wake of Kon-Tiki with average temperatures of 22 degrees, but it turned out to be necessary with warm underwear specially during nightwatches. Øyvin Lauten, then XO on the raft, preferred to use the polar equipment from Brynje every night – and he still wears it after 9 years! Kon-Tiki2 will sail in much colder temperatures than Tangaroa. The manager, Bjørn Jacob Melsom, makes sure that all crew members will stay warm, from Peru to Easter Island and back to South America in the Roaring Forties.

Meeting the Chilean ambassador to Norway

(2015-08-12) The Kon-Tiki2 expedition today met with the Chilean ambassador to Norway, Sr. José Miguel Cruz Sánchez. Expedition leader Torgeir Higraff, along with Pål Børresen and Håkon Wium Lie, presented the expedition and discussed various ways to collaborate. Like Norway, Chile has a long coastline and the rafts will spend much time in Chilean waters.

Jotron help secure our rafts

(2015-07-31) Jotron is a trusted name in maritime electronics, providing safety equipment for ships, oil rigs – and balsa rafts! They happen to be based in Larvik, Thor Heyerdahl's home town, and they proudly sponsor our expedition. Today we met to learn more about the equipment they suggest we take on board, including AIS Class A transceivers (which tell others where we are), AIS SARTs (which tell others where we are in emergency), floating VHF radios, and strobe lights for the full crew. They mayor of Larvik took part in the meeting to highlight the importance of continued maritime enterprises in Larvik.

Liv Arnesen joins our crew

(2015-07-28) Torgeir writes: while I was stuck in high school, Liv led the first unsupported woman's crossing of the Greenland Ice Cap. A few years later, Liv made international headlines by becoming the first woman in the world to ski solo and unsupported to the South Pole -- a 50-day expedition of some 745 miles (1,200 km). I'm very proud that Liv has joined our crew on Kon-Tiki2. Check her fantastic career and her new important focus on access to water at her web site.

Building two rafts with one team

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(July 2015) Kon-Tiki2 has become a big team. In September we all gather in Callao with the Peruvian Navy in Escuela Naval (photo) to construct the two rafts made of balsa selected with help from 3A Composites. "I take part in this because it is exciting to try to understand our forefathers way of thinking, to use the nature as a tool to make navigation on the big ocean possible, to work with the nature", says Espen Rathe, one of the team members. Katarina Kierulfova from Slovakia look forward to make an oceangoing vessel out of balsawood, bamboo and reed. "At Fosen Folkehøgskole I found out how much I enjoy making boats, although I grew up in a country with no coastline". Kirstine Schøler Hjort, a Danish raft builder who also has background from Fosen FHS, wants to understand the theories of Thor Heyerdahl. "I want to learn how to make boats the traditional way, to use ancient tools and to sail a boat without engine. Now I can use my skills and at the same time take part in a cool project."

Which satellite transceiver will get us online?

(July 2015) In 2008, the Tangaroa expedition used this fabulous antenna to stay in touch. Some things have changed since then: Opera Mini offers compressed web connections and new, and smaller, hardware have arrived. For example, the Iridium GO and the IsatHub iSavi are relatively affordable units that connect on-raft devices to the internet through satellites. To the seasoned marine electronic geeks out there: what connection would you trust the most – a vintage Nera F77 or the newer devices?

Workshop

April 2015: Workshop with veteran explorer Bjorn Heidenstrom to discuss devices to bring onboard.

Logging balsa in Ecuador

(March 2015) The best balsa comes from plantations in Ecuador. Here are some pictures from our journey to find the very best trees, which will float to Easter Island – and back! In these pictures you can see expedition leader Torgeir Higraff and his crew selecting balsa and bamboo for the rafts. Thanks to our sponsor AirexBaltekBanova, this massive massive undertaking is possible.