“We have completed the world’s first circumnavigation of the island of New Guinea in a traditional sailing canoe. Using local resources and determination”.
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UPDATE: Circumnavigation successfully completed.
Danish Adventurer Thor F. Jensen and two Papua New Guinean sailors Sanakoli John and Justin John have completed the first ever recorded circumnavigation of the island of New Guinea, by traditional sailing canoe. The entire experience, from start til finish, was shared live on social media: Facebook.
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6300 kilometres in 13 months and 21 days.
The adventure launched on the 30th of August 2016, from the Tawali Resort in Milne Bay Papua New Guinea. On October the 20th 2017. The crew returned to Tawali Resort from where they left almost 14 months ago.
Awarded at the National Canoe Festival
The celebration took place during the annual canoe festival in Alotau, Papua New Guinea, where the ‘Tawali Pasana’ sailed into the festival and the history books, escorted by an armada of boats to the beat of kundu drums and the songs of warriors ashore.
On a grand stage thatched by palm leaves, Thor. F. Jensen, and master sailors Justin John, Sanakoli John and Job Siyae were awarded medals in recognition of their historical expedition, that has not only set a world record but also promoted the island internationally and inspired the youth of PNG to preserve their cultural heritage.
Back to Basics – expedition style.
Thor and the crew completed the circumnavigation by relying on resources available locally. This way, they not only gained a deeper understanding of how life is lived on the island of New Guinea in the 21st. century, but also demonstrated that you can achieve great dreams for few means – as long as your project is driven by perseverance and passion.
Outcomes, so far
The story of the Tawali Pasana and her brave sailors is now being shared with the rest of the world. See the extensive media coverage.
A book on the expedition Salt Water and Spear Tips: The World’s First Circumnavigation of the Island of New Guinea in a Traditional Sailing Canoe, can now be ordered here Pegasus Publishers . Or Amazon
A documentary film SAILAU is in the making to be screened at the National Kenu and Kundu Festival Papua New Guinea November 2021.
Learn more on the SAILAU project website.
Thor F. Jensen is undertaking a public speaking tour in Australia 2020 sharing stories of the circumnavigation.
Most notably, Thor has spoke at the Danish Embassy in Jakarta and met with Indonesia’s Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Susi Pudjiastuti.
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