Bartholome Ruiz took the middle ship southwards when unfavorable winds halted Francisco Pizarro's 1526 expedition of the new world. For three months, he sailed off the coasts of today's Colombia and Ecuador.
On October 1, 1526, the crew "saw a lateen sail of great size coming toward them on the high sea." "Odd," they first thought, "but it must be a caravel" (however that got there). When Ruiz and crew caught up with the vessel, they noted it was not like any ship they knew; it was, rather, a raft.
Like Thor Heyerdahl's Kon-Tiki later, the raft Ruiz encountered was made from an especially light kind of wood — balsa:
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