Polynesian Odyssey DVD (PAL)

Polynesian Odyssey DVD cover

The Populating of the Polynesian Islands; the Secret of the First Great Seafaring Civilisation.

This documentary was made in 2009 by ARTE France for television. We think it is one of the best documentaries about the Pacific islands’ seafaring history and the controversies over how the remote Pacific islands were populated by the Polynesians.

It features many fascinating archive clips of the French sailing hero Eric de Bisschop on his double canoe Kaimiloa (1939) and bamboo raft Tahiti Nui (1956). Eric de Bisschop is introduced by James Wharram, who was inspired by him to make his pioneering Atlantic voyages by double canoe in the 1950s. Also shown is the double canoe, Havaiki Nui, built by Francis Cowan and Greg Brightwell. This double canoe, built authentically from carved-out logs and coconut fibre lashings was sailed from Tahiti to New Zealand using only Polynesian navigation techniques in 1985. Then there is footage of James Siers and his 60ft Kiribati canoe Taratai. Further there are discussions with various other experts on archaeology and Polynesian navigation.

This video is a must for those that are inspired by Polynesian double canoes. Only available through the Wharram webshop.

Directors: Olivier Comte
Writers: Hélène Constanty, Olivier Comte

Festivals and Awards:
  • 2011: Best Film dealing with adventure and nautical sports at the "Ecrans de la mer", Dunkerque (France)
  • 2010: Selected at the festival "Etonnants Voyageurs" (Amazing Travellers), Saint Malo, France.

PAL format
English language
53 minutes

Price: £15.00
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