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The An-Tiki Dream Turns into Reality

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Launched and named, An-Tiki sets sail for the Bahamas (Eleuthera)

 On Sunday 30 January 2011, the An-Tiki raft slipped her lines and set sail on her epic 3,000-mile voyage from the Canaries to the Bahamas.

Together with her crew of four ‘mature’ and intrepid gentlemen, aged from 56 to 84 years old, An-Tiki will be crossing the Atlantic Ocean from La Gomera to Eleuthera, with an estimated voyage time of 70 days.

After a 2 month build program, An-Tiki was launched at the end of January and the second deputy Mayor (2º Teniente Alcalde) of Valle Gran Rey, Nuria Gámez, named the raft in a ceremony completed by the traditional smashing of a bottle of champagne over the vessel.

Departure was delayed slightly as the crew waited for an ideal weather window to help them get underway and leave the Canary Islands safely. And having enjoyed a few extra days with luxuries such as hot showers, fresh food and flushing toilets, the four spent their last night together onboard the raft, sleeping in the bunks which will be their home for the next few weeks.

This pioneering adventure, spearheaded by 84-year old broadcaster and author Anthony Smith has thrown up challenges along the way, but together with his three crew mates, he’s looking forward to life at sea.

“We’ve got a small library so it won’t all be hard work, and some little treats such as an odd tot of rum or whiskey for the long voyage ahead” Anthony told us, and they’re hoping to catch fish and net plankton to supplement their onboard diet. As Anthony, a zoologist explained, “plankton is good enough for the blue whale, the biggest creature on earth, to eat, so it’s good enough for the An-Tiki crew!” They also have games and story telling to look forward to, as well as music and simply enjoying nature and getting back to basics.

The four brave gentlemen are floating across an ocean of salt water, but are aware that many round the world lack access to the most basic commodity of clean drinking water. So they’re using the An-Tiki project as a way to raise £50,000 ($70,000) for WaterAid. Funds that will provide clean drinking water and sanitation for communities in some of the worlds’ poorest countries.

Project Manager, Robin Batchelor told us “AnTiki slipped her mooring on Sunday at 09.00 and started a 2 hour tow behind the boat generously supplied by local whale-watching company, Oceano.

She behaved beautifully as she slid through the waves and increased her distance from the shores of La Gomera where she has taken shape over the last ten weeks. Once the local effects of the island were left behind – about 3 miles out – our intrepid adventurers set course for Eleuthera Island about 2,800 miles away.

The raft immediately took on a strong appearance and rode the waves with confidence. Everything looked and felt right as she took on the Atlantic Ocean for the first time. Seeing her go, a strong wave of emotion swept over us when we finally said goodbye to our friends, AnTiki and the lifestyle that has filled every hour of every day for the last 11-weeks. We cut the umbilical cord of our creation and released her with her brave crew into the world to seek her fate. After 48 hours at sea the crew reports no issues other than a little sea sickness.”

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