17th march 2016: The Kon-Tiki2 Expedition has decided to end the expedition after 114 days and 4500 nautical miles in the South-East Pacific. The goal of the expedition has been to show that balsa rafts can sail from South America to Easter Island, and back. The Expedition reached Easter Island after 43 days at sea, but the return voyage has proven more difficult due to atypical winds.
We have shown that balsa rafts can sail to Easter Island. This is a first, in modern times. We have also made good progress on the return journey, but this is an El Niño year and the weather patterns we have encountered have been atypical. We realize that reaching South America will take too long and we prefer to evacuate to ensure safety for all, says Expedition leader Torgeir Higraff.
The Expedition consists of two balsa rafts that left Lima in Peru on Nov 7th, 2015, and arrived on Easter Island just before Christmas. On Jan 6th, 2016, the rafts started the demanding return voyage.
In a normal year, we would have reached South America by now. Instead, we are still 900 nautical miles from land and the weather forecasts are not promising. The crew is at good health and spirit, and there is no emergency situation. These rafts have proven to be exceptional vessels at sea. They have impressed us by their seaworthiness in all sorts of weather, over enormous and remote waters. Needless to say, it is sad to end the expedition without reaching South America, says Higraff.
The Kon-Tiki2 Expedition has done important scientific research on climate change, marine life, plastics, and pollution in the Pacific.
The rafts are rigged as floating research vessels through a unique collaboration between NIVA, NTNU, Kongsberg Maritime, Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Nortek, Sperre, Opera, and the American research organizations NASA and NOAA, says Cecilie Mauritzen, Chief Scientist of the Expedition. We have gathered large sets of data on climate change and pollution. From a scientific point of view, it has been particularly interesting that the expedition took place in one of the strongest El Niño years recorded, even if El Niño now contributes to the termination of the expedition. As research partners, we look forward to receiving and analyzing these data sets, says Mauritzen.
The Expedition is supported by Thor Heyerdahl Institute, 3A Composites AirexBaltekBanova, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Expedition is discontinued in close collaboration with the Chilean Navy, which have assisted us in a highly professional manner. The Norwegian Embassy has also communicated closely with the Expedition, says Ambassador Hege Araldsen at the Norwegian Embassy in Santiago, Chile.
For further information, contact Håkon Wium Lie, firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +47 90192217