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
"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.
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
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
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
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
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.