The rough Pacific puts people and materials to the test unexpectedly hard.
In November 2008, a team of sailors, scientists and a few companions set out to sail the historic migration route of the Polynesians from East Asia into the vastness of the Pacific. Halfway there!
After a good 2,000 nautical miles, the crew of the "Lapita-Voyage" has now reached an important sub-destination and made half of the journey on the Polynesian migration route. At the relevant time, the crew was roughly level with Wewak, a port city in northern Papua New Guinea.
Although the expedition is a week behind its original schedule, the interim conclusion is positive: The first 2,000 nautical miles mean a great performance by crew and material.
"We first had to get used to the boats and make small modifications to the technology and equipment. But the weather in particular thwarted the schedules, while the boats proved to be extremely reliable after their teething problems had been eliminated, especially in a storm", says it off board.
The crew stick together as well. Expedition leader Klaus Hympendahl reports that everyone tackled their possibilities and was highly motivated, withstanding the physical stresses of storms as well as the psychological ones. His son Philipp, who has just been on board for several weeks, adds:
"The conditions in the tropics are incredibly harsh. The less experienced sailors in particular experience real borderline experiences when they do the daily work on deck, which in terms of hardness cannot be compared with the demands on normal sailing boats. hot weather, the constantly changing winds with strong rain squalls and injuries and bruises do the rest."
The typical crab claw sails of the double-hulled boats, built according to historical Polynesian models, enable high speeds.
The ancestors of the Polynesians had generations to follow the expedition. The "Lapita-Voyage", on the other hand, covers 4,000 nautical miles in a few months and makes numerous stops on small islands for scientific research.
The unique natural navigation without modern technical aids is still used regularly when the weather is right. In storms and rain, the team, unlike the pioneers, has to hold out and sail on because of its schedule.
"Anyone who tries to defy the conditions of nature has no chance. The challenge is to adapt to the natural rhythm of the tropics and to react correctly to constantly changing conditions," explains Philipp Hympendahl.
All in all, the crew is very confident that they will be able to reach the islands of Tikopi and Anut on time and hand over the catamarans, built according to the historical Polynesian model, to the residents. The scientists on board are particularly looking forward to collecting further material for their research.
During a stop on the Duke of York Islands in the Bismarck Archipelago, numerous Lapita ceramics that come from the ancestors of the Polynesians have already been found.
The initiators of "Lapita-Voyage" are asking for donations to further support the project. The account details of the non-profit organization Help Tikopie. V., Which finances the expedition and strongly supports the inhabitants of the islands of Tikopi and Anuttat, are:
Dresdner Bank AG Bank code 300 800 00Account: 03 636 100 0
Further information is available here