12 January 2014
Last updated at 21:07 ET
In 1973, a group of men sailed across the Pacific Ocean on rafts - the 15,000km (9,300 miles) journey from South America to Australia was the longest of its kind ever recorded. They wanted to prove that ancient civilisations could have travelled between the two continents. These are some of the photographs from the expedition.
The 12 crew members built three rafts in Ecuador where the voyage began - they used balsa wood for the bases and bamboo for the cabins.
They cut the logs at full moon when the sap content is highest, for maximum buoyancy.
"We looked like primitive creatures, our clothes were starting to get tattered, we had the beards, we had the long hair," says crew member Mike Fitzgibbons (above).
Most days followed the same routine - they drank rainwater and the odd bottle of champagne saved for birthdays. Daily chores included fishing and cooking.
When he needed space, Fitzgibbons "would do some sort of work... although we were all crew members dedicated to one goal, we were individuals who had certain small needs, or egos".
In storms, "You didn't see the other rafts as they would go down into the trough of the wave - big rollers, huge rollers. It was frightening - the noise of the wind pushing the sails," says crew member Gabriel Salas.
On still nights the surface of the sea was like a mirror that "reflected the stars so well that you found yourself like floating in space with stars below you, stars on the horizon, stars above you," says Salas.
Three cats and two monkeys were taken along to distract the crew from their daily chores. The cats "were really funny and made you laugh all the time," says Salas. "One monkey was bad and would literally just throw things overboard, whether it was sugar or somebody's cigarettes," says Fitzgibbons.
The expedition was the idea of Spanish explorer Vital Alsar (pictured). "Vital's presence permeated, but he's not a motivator - his spirit just seeps into you and you become part of what his dream was," says Fitzgibbons.
"The closer we came to Australia the sadder we became... having to travel to work every day, having to withstand disagreeable bosses, be in a rush all the time and nobody wanted to actually reach Australia," says Salas.
The journey took six months and ended at the small town of Ballina in New South Wales. Salas is now retired and splits his time between Spain and Australia. Fitzgibbons is a delivery driver in New Jersey. They spoke to Claire Bowes for the BBC World Service programme, Witness. Photos courtesy of Mike Fitzgibbons.