Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl set out from Safi, Morocco, on Sunday (May 17) in a second bid to cross the Atlantic in a papyrus reed boat.
GV Ra 2 in harbour
SV Crew prepare Ra 2
CU Crew member, with Ra 2 headband
SV Livestock and utensils
CU Crew members
CU Mascot monkey 'Safi'
CU Crew member
SV Woman holds monkey mascot whilst crew prepare ship
CU Crew member
LV People watch from nearby launch
GV Ra 2 towed out into harbour
CU Thor Heyerdahl at tiller
CU Crew man working
SV PAN Crew waves as Ra 2 leaves Heyerdahl still at tiller
SV & LV Ra 2 leaving (4 shots)
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Background: Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl set out from Safi, Morocco, on Sunday (May 17) in a second bid to cross the Atlantic in a papyrus reed boat.
Heyerdahl's intention in making this voyage, is to show that the Ancient Egyptians could have sailed to Central America in a similar craft many centuries before Columbus and so be the precursors of the Mayan and Incan civilizations.
The boat "Ra 2" named after the Egyptian sun god, was designed from 5,000 year old paintings and models found in tombs, by the Swedish Egyptologist Bjorn Lindstrom. Built in Safi, by fur South American Indians who make papyrus boats in Bolivia, it is four tons (4,000 Kilos) lighter and seven feet (3 metres) shorter than the first model "Ra" which began to break up in a hurricane last July, 600 miles (960 Kms) east of Barbados.
Ra 2 will also carry less water and food supplies even though an extra member, a Japanese photographer, has been added to the multi-national cres. As in the first expedition, the stores will be carried as by the ancient Egyptians, in ceramic jars and goatskins; but modern equipment like radio, electric lighting and medical supplies will also be carried.
Mr. Heyerdahl hopes to make the 4,000 mile (6,400 Kms) trans-Atlantic crossing in two months and the ship is flying the United Nations flag by special permission of U.N. Secretary-General U Thant.
The crew's mascot, a monkey, which made the first voyage is also making this sailing.
Mr. Heyerdahl, 55, is well known for his Kon Tiki expedition in 1947, when he and a crew of five other Scandinavians, piloted a balsa-log raft across the Pacific from Peru to Polynesia to prove that Polynesian culture could have been derived from Peruvian origins.