February 15, 1999
Spaniard begins reed boat voyage across Pacific
Destination is 8,470 miles away

                  ARICA, Chile (CNN) -- A Spanish adventurer on Sunday launched his
                  second attempt to cross the Pacific Ocean in a boat made of reeds.

                  Kitin Munoz, a 40-year-old former member of the Spanish army's elite
                  commando unit, set out from this port in northern Chile with his nine-member
                  international crew for Micronesia.

                  They are attempting to prove that centuries ago, sailors crossed the Pacific
                  from the Americas to Asia in similar boats.

                  The launch of what is expected to be a four-month journey was
                  enthusiastically cheered by a crowd of thousands of Aricans, who waved
                  handkerchiefs and bade farewell to the man they watched labor day after
                  day to build his boat.

                  First attempt failed

                  Munoz clutched a 2-inch whalebone fishhook as he boarded the
                  Mata-Rangi II.

                  "It is a fishhook to find good luck," said Munoz. It was a replica of a
                  fishhook he wore on his 1997 attempt to circumnavigate the globe in a reed

                  The original Mata-Rangi, or Eyes of Paradise, broke apart shortly after
                  sailing off Easter Island. The crew was rescued unharmed.

                  Destination: Asia

                  Munoz, whose new vessel was pushed to sea by a tugboat, is accompanied
                  by an international crew of three Easter Islanders, a Peruvian, a Bolivian,
                  two Japanese, a Tahitianand an Arican.

                  Munoz will head for the Federated States of Micronesia, a tiny nation of
                  islands north of Papua New Guinea, some 8,470 miles west of Arica.

                  As he made last preparations on board his boat, Munoz said he hopes
                  eventually to reach Asia, perhaps Taiwan or Japan, if the typical June
                  typhoons do not end his voyage short of his goal.

                  The stretch to Micronesia will take at least four months, he said. He will pass
                  the time studying and letting his mind wander.

                  "You find peace and start to become like the boat," he said.

                  The Pacific crossing, which Munoz described as a mission to further science
                  and fraternity, is reminiscent of the 1947 adventure of Norwegian explorer
                  Thor Heyerdahl, who sailed on a balsa wood raft to the Polynesian island of
                  Raroia from Callao, Peru.

                  Heyerdahl captured the world's imagination after World War II, proving that
                  ancient peoples could have traveled the same way.

                  Solar panels, satellite connection

                  Munoz and a team constructed the Mata-Rangi II with more than 13,000
                  reeds from Lake Titicaca, the world's highest navigable lake.

                  They set up camp on the beach in Arica, hauled the reeds there in trucks and
                  in October began building the 50-ton boat, which has three V-shaped masts
                  and a bow representing the head of a mythological bird from Easter Island.

                  The vessel has a crude toilet that spills into the ocean. It has solar panels for
                  cooking, and high-tech navigational instruments, including a global
                  positioning system and a satellite connection.

                  Wicker baskets filled with rice, oatmeal and cans of carrots, potatoes,
                  spinach and kidney beans were stacked on the boat.

                  Munoz's mission is backed by Spain, Swiss watchmaker Breitling and the
                  United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
                  (UNESCO), which has named the Spaniard an honorary ambassador.

                           The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.