Calm Atlantic brings expedition to a standstill

30th July 2007, Comments 0 comments

30 July 2007, New York (dpa) - The Abora III expedition that aims to replicate ancient seafaring techniques has experienced a delay of almost three weeks due to a long period of calm over the Atlantic, a representative told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa on Friday. Werner Middendorf confirmed that the boat piloted by German biologist Dominique Goerlitz is some 100 kilometres off the Gulf Stream. Once it reaches the current, it will be automatically pushed forward by sea currents. First stop will be the Azores

30 July 2007

New York (dpa) - The Abora III expedition that aims to replicate ancient seafaring techniques has experienced a delay of almost three weeks due to a long period of calm over the Atlantic, a representative told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa on Friday.

Werner Middendorf confirmed that the boat piloted by German biologist Dominique Goerlitz is some 100 kilometres off the Gulf Stream. Once it reaches the current, it will be automatically pushed forward by sea currents.

First stop will be the Azores islands, where Goerlitz hoped to put in for fresh provisions by August 10 before moving on to Cadiz on Spain's southern tip and the Canary Islands. With the current delay, the boat will get to the Azores in late August, Middendorf said.

However, Middendorf noted that in spite of the calm at sea, Goerlitz's crew are not getting bored.

"The crew spend their time swimming, sunbathing and fishing," he said.

They have also devote time to repairs, Middendorf said.

Goerlitz set out to prove that ancient civilizations could have made the trip from the Americas back to the Old World. He embarked on July 11 on a more than three-month journey from the US coast back to Spain.

Goerlitz set off from New York in a prehistoric-style reed boat called the Abora III, constructed out of 17 tonnes of reed papyrus and fashioned with 16 leeboards - retractable foils - that he says aided seafarers with steering some 6,000 years ago.

Taking his cue from Norwegian adventurer Thor Heyerdahl, the 41- year-old Goerlitz hopes to prove that people traversed between the old and new worlds as early as 14,000 years ago, and even conducted transatlantic trade.

"We want to rewrite the history of sea travel," Goerlitz said.

Heyerdahl's 1947 Kon-Tiki and later Ra expeditions proved that ancient civilizations could have used trade winds and ocean currents to drift westward around the globe to South America and the South Pacific. Goerlitz and his 10-person international crew hope to prove the opposite direction was possible too.

The boat is equipped with modern navigation and communications equipment.

Goerlitz, who is working on his doctorate in invasion biology at the University of Bonn, has cited evidence of plants known to have originated exclusively in the New World, like coca and tobacco, that were found in the tomb of ancient Egyptian ruler Ramses II.

Vintage 6,000-year-old rock drawings in Egypt's Wadi Hammamat depict reed boats with keels on the side, which Goerlitz says demonstrate how the ancients could have undertaken their travels across the Atlantic

DPA

Subject: German news

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