Eric de Bisschop

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French Polynesia

     French Polynesia commemorated the 30th anniversary of the death of Eric de Bisschop (1890-1958) in 1988 with a map stamp of the southern Pacific and South America.
     He built the double catamaran Kaimiloa in 1936 and sailed it across three oceans (Pacific, Indian and Atlantic) from Honolulu to Cannes in 1937. In 1957 he built the raft Tahiti Nui I and attempted to sail from Tahiti to South America, and almost made it. In 1958 he built the Tahiti Nui II and drifted it from Peru to Tahiti, his original destination, and 1,200 miles further to Rakahanga reef in the northern Cook Islands. Bisschop was fatally injured. He was buried in the cemetery of Moerai on the island of Rurutu.
     The map on the stamp shows the routes of the Tahiti Nui rafts. The lower route shows the route from Tahiti east to South America by the Tahiti Nui I, while the upper track shows the route of the Tahiti Nui II, from Peru north along the South American coast to Callao, and then west across the Pacific north of Tahiti to Rakahanga.
     A label attached to the stamp shows a cover with a cache with a picture of Tahiti Nui, and the description: “Transported by the raft Tahiti Nui which departed Tahiti on November 8, 1956 for Valparaiso (Chile).” 

SCN 491