50 Years Ago Today I was Photographing Ra II Arriving in Barbados, July 12th, 1970

The Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl had just proved that the ancients could have sailed
from North Africa to the New World millennia before Columbus made the trip!

Bajans came out in droves to welcome the explorer and his international crew.

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Of course, before there was a Ra II there had to be a Ra I – Heyerdahl had tried the trip the year before and had made it to within 600 miles of Barbados. They had to abandon their waterlogged craft and hitch a ride to the island.

During the Ra I journey we had been intently following them across the Atlantic as my dad Paul Burleigh was an avid ham radio opperator and he and the other Bajan hams, including Allan Otway (8P6AH) and Pat Toppin (8P6AZ), had been talking with the members of the expedition all the way across.

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My dad had been in contact with a Norwegian ham called Christian and Heyerdahl wanted to send messages back after they arrived so he and the Russian doctor Yuri Senkevich came up to our house at Lammings, St. Joseph and spent a few hours relaying messages to Christian and on from there to Russia.

Fast forward a year and the Ra II was on it's way – again the hams were communicating with them. My dad was out of the island so I kept up with Alan and Jill Otway on progress.

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The Ra II had almost the same crew from the original Ra – this time it was –

Thor Heyerdahl BiographyThor Heyerdahl Biography

About Norman Baker - Berkshire Eagle

Norman Baker - New York Times

Yuri A. Senkevich (Russia)

Yuri A. Senkevich - some more

Carlo Mauri (Italy)

Santiago Genoves (Mexico)

Kei Ohara (Japan)

Madani Ait Ouhanni (Morocco)