Rotary club to hear from ocean explorer

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Author and voyager John Haslett built this 30,00-pound replica of an ancient raft used by pre-Columbian Ecuadorians, and spent a 38-day adventure on the sea with it.

Author and voyager John Haslett will speak to the Rotary Club on Sept. 5 about his adventures on the sea.

Haslett has spent the past 15 years leading expeditions and researching the ancient cultures of Pre-Columbian Ecuador. In 1995, with the help of an isolated community of Ecuadorian mariners, he built a 30,000-pound, full-scale replica of an ocean-going raft used by the ancient Manteño people, and then voyaged on the open sea for 38 days. Haslett was elected to The Explorer’s Club in 1998, and later that year he flew the Clubís flag on his second raft, voyaging for a total of 85 days on the Pacific.

Haslett’s expeditions have yielded large amounts of technical data and practical knowledge about the Manteño people and their coastal trading network. And in 2000 he teamed up with noted archaeologist Dr. Cameron McPherson Smith to publish “Construction and Sailing Characteristics of a Pre-Columbian Raft Replica” in the Bulletin of Primitive Technology. In November 2006, Haslett published his memoir of his first decade of exploring, “Voyage of the Manteño: The Education of a Modern-Day Expeditioner.”

Haslett is working as a freelance writer and full-time explorer. He has published articles in Archaeology, QST, National Geographic Adventure and other publications. Haslett and Dr. Smith are preparing their most extensive expedition to date, in which they hope to discover the last pieces of the puzzle concerning the mysterious Manteño mariners. Haslett lives in Los Angeles with his wife, film director Annie Biggs.