Ocean Raft Voyages
Some fascinating ocean raft expeditions where people cast off purely for the sense of adventure. I think my favourite has to be William Willis and Poppa Neutrino’s voyages. Anyone up for an adventure?
William Willis Pacific Crossing 1954
William Willis’s nautical adventures started when he was 15 years old and then in 1938 formed an expedition to Devils Island to effect the escape of a convict. His first solo raft expedition was in 1954 from South America to American Samoa. His raft was named “Seven Little Sisters” and was crewed by himself, his parrot, and cat.
L’Egare ll Atlantic Crossing 1956
L’Egare ll raft left Halifax in 1956 and first raft to cross the Atlantic, and succeeded, 88 days later. Henri Beaudou crossed the ocean to qualify himself and form an explorers club with a small crew and 2 cats eventually landing in Falmouth.
Kon-Tiki Expedition 1947
Probably the most well-known ‘modern’ raft expedition, The Kon-Tiki expedition was a 1947 journey by raft across the Pacific Ocean from South America to the Polynesian islands, led by Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl.
Vital Alsar Pacific Crossings 1966-73
Spanish explorer Vital Alsar led three expeditions to cross the Pacific Ocean by raft – La Pacífica in 1966, La Balsa in 1970 and Las Balsas in 1973. Travelling from Ecuador, South America, to Australia, the first expedition failed, but the second and third succeeded, both setting the record for the longest known raft voyages in history – 8,600 miles (13,800 km) and 9,000 miles (14,000 km) respectively.
Poppa Neutrino’s Atlantic Voyage 1997-98
Poppa Neutrino was a musician, raft builder and “free spirit” who lived his life outside expected norms and created a documentary of his voyage aboard the raft ‘Son of Town Hall’ that was upcycled from New York junk.
The Tangaroa Expedition 2012
As a tribute to his grandfather and the original Kon-tiki expedition, Olav and his team built a raft in Peru and sailed it all the way to Raiatea in French Polynesia.