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News from Wharram Headquarters

By Hanneke Boon

It has been a long time with little news from the Wharram office. There is a reason for this, James has not been well.

Ever since returning from the Lapita Voyage in March, James was suffering from discomfort in his gut. In fact this was one reason for him returning before the finish of the voyage. We assumed it was some microscopic tropical parasite or tenacious bacteria and several tests were done. Finally an internal examination was ordered and the result was very disturbing as bowel cancer was diagnosed.

James and son Jamie, ready to board plane
James about to board the plane in the Santa Cruz Islands, to take him back to Europe.

Looking on the good side, further scans showed no spread and a prompt operation in October removed the offending cancer. James has however now been put on a course of oral Chemo therapy, which will keep him on a low work schedule for a few more months.

These disturbing developments did not stop all the work. James and Hanneke had been invited to give a major presentation on the Lapita Voyage at the International Symposium of Boat and Ship Archaeology – ISBSA12 – in Istanbul in October. Attending in person was impossible, as James’ operation was scheduled for the same day, so we set to work to produce the presentation on DVD. James’ history of Canoeform Craft and Migration theories are explained by him with the help of maps and photos, then there follows a film of the building, launching and sailing of the Lapita Voyage boats, which culminates in navigating without instruments the last open ocean stretch to Anuta and the wonderful welcome on the island where the boat is hauled up the beach by the Anutans. It also shows the original Anutan canoes, some very old, of which there are 70 on tiny Anuta, with a population of just 300.

Tama Moana on the sea
Lapita Tikopia
James and Dr Bong at the helm
James with Dr. Bong Dizon, marine archaeologist from Manila University
James posing for a photo with a local
James with Roy Kelozi in Mono Island, Solomons. Roy, a boatbuilder, would like to reintroduce sailing canoes to his island
Locals gathered around Lapita Anuta
Arrival in Anuta

This DVD presentation was very well received at the Istanbul Conference. We would now like to share it with all the people that have followed the Lapita Voyage on the web. Producing the DVD professionally took a little time, with Hanneke inundated with most of the office work, hence it just hasn’t made it into our webshop before Christmas. The DVDs are to be ready on 23rd December, so if you are happy to wait till then, put your order in now, and the DVD will be dispatched to you immediately after Christmas.

Classic Boat magazine have offered to sell the DVD on their stand at the London Excel Boatshow. Hanneke will also be there on Friday 15th January to give a short public talk on the stage about the Lapita Voyage. So if you intend to go to London for the Boatshow, make a note of the time (15th January at 12.10 – 12.30).

We would like to wish all visitors to our website a peaceful Christmas and a Happy New Year.