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Thor Heyerdahl and Pender Island

May 1st, 2008 · No Comments

David: When I was on Pender Island just off Vancouver there was an excellent book store where you could buy second hand books and get a credit for ones you bought back. Pictures of Pender in the Gallery

I got Thor Heyerdahl’s Sea Routes to Polynesia. Thor is famous for his Kon-Tiki expeditions where he sailed ancient South America designed balsa raft to Polynesia. The dilemma of the origins of the people of Polynesia is that they have many words in common with the Malay peninsula in South East Asia. Common belief was that the Malay must have island hoped in a South East direction to Polynesia. Thor argued that they couldn’t possibly have sailed against the currents and wind. He saw the language coming via British Columbia. In fact he pointed out the similarity of some of the physical characteristics of the Indians of British Columbia and the Polynesians. Modern DNA research has comfirmed his hypothesis

Thor also describes how to steer and tack a raft. There are dagger boards (called Guara) at the bow and the stern but no rudder. All you sailboards out there should get the principle quickly. To bear away from the wind in a sailboard you tilt the sail forwards. To tack you tilt it aft. Ok on a raft you don’t move the sail you create the same effect by lifting and lowering the Guara. Aft Guara up for a tack. Bow Guara up to bear away! There are references from early Spanish explorers reports that they were able to sail closer to the wind than the square riggers of the 16th Century

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