Thor Heyerdahl’s Ra Expeditions to Barbados: RA-I 1969, RA-II 1970 — 3 Comments

  1. Hello,
    Great to see this post – my first contact with this expedition was through my dad Paul Burleigh (ham radio operator) who was in regular contact with Ra during the first voyage – Thor Heyerdahl and the Russian doctor Yuri Senkevich came up to our house to make contact to Russia via a ham operator (Chris?) in Norway.
    Of course when Ra II was on it’s way we were all excited about the trip and my dad was in regular contact again – howerver he was away from the island as they got near and I remember going over to Allan and Jill’s on Maxwell coast to listen to the conversation as they neared the island.
    I have B&W negs of the arrival and days after and also my first color photos were taken on the Ra II as it was moored at the Pierhead waiting to go on the dry dock – I need to scan these images and get them online to share – another project to be done!
    All the best.

    • Craig, I look forward to seeing your photos. It’s quite something to see your comments here after so many years, We met a few times during that period and I worked with your brother at Seawell air Services. Even kept his surf board for a time while Uncle Sam called.

  2. I just came across this post and was quite surprised to see the photo of Allan Otway and Pat Toppin with Norman Baker. I remember clearly when RA II came to Barbados as I worked with Allan, at Seawell Air Services and spent time in his ham shack talking to the members of the RA crew as they came across the Atlantic to Barbados. When the RA landed some of the local ham operators, including Allan and Jill got to broadcast from the boat as it was tied in the careenage. They were talking to ham operators from around the world that wanted to log a conversation with the RA II. I managed to get a couple of pictures on the RA when I went to visit Allan. I also recall a reception at the Ottway’s at Crystal Waters or Crystal Lodge, on Maxwell Coast Road. Most of the crew members were there except Thor Heyerdahl (maybe he was at the place near Sam Lords that day). Thanks for bringing back some good memories. I’d be happy to share the pictures I took that day on the RA II.

    I clearly recall one of the crew members, a diver, who talked about sharks not being too dangerous but dumb and about conger eels being quite smart.

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