National Geographic : 1971 Jan
with separate ropes; their design featured a high bow and low stern. At my request, they added a stern to match the bow. But their patch work method of construction didn't work. Under way, we saw the stern break apart. Waves rolled aboard, like combers onto a beach, tearing away quantities of papyrus. Ra I had to be abandoned short of Bar bados (map, pages 50-51). Starting anew, I decided to build Ra II like the ships of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia-and today's Lake Titicaca. Four Aymara Indians from Bolivia, with an interpreter, came as our shipwrights. Here, Ra II takes shape in a gar den at Safi, Morocco (above, left). The hull consists of two main bun dles, plus a small center one, all lashed together with a continuous spiraling rope. Thin bundles on each side form the gunwales. No metal not a nail or screw-was used. Moroccan helpers wrap ceramic jars in reed jackets to prevent break age on the voyage (above).