Is a documentary film and social impact campaign based on the 2016-17 voyage: The World’s First Circumnavigation of the Island of New Guinea in a Traditional Sailing Canoe. 

World Premiere
3 June 2023, at the Doc Edge International Film Festival in New Zealand.

Papua New Guinea premiere
November 2023,  National Kenu and Kundu Festival in Alotau and broadcasted on EMTV.

Mobile phone version of SAILAU will be distributed in Oceania in late 2023.

You can support this project by donating through: Documentary Australia.

Watch the trailer.

Best Nordic Film of 2023

SAILAU premiered in a sold out cinema at Nordic Adventure Film Festival on the 1st December 2023 in Copenhagen.

These are comments from the audience after the film:

“A film made with love and respect”
“I wanna go to PNG”
Insane adventure!”

SAILAU was awarded Best Nordic Film 2023 by the judges and an extra screening was held the day after.


This documentary seeks to inspire young Papua New Guineans to value their traditional knowledge and the campaign activities will be used for educational programs in schools across the Pacific. 

Internationally, we aim to challenge outdated colonial stereotypes of the Pacific by telling a contemporary and positive story from the second largest island in the world.

So far, an expedition book has been published titled Salt Water and Spear Tips, Pegasus Publishers UK 2020.

The voyage and book have been featured several media outlets such as:
7NEWS Australia
Australian Geographic 
EMTV Papua New Guinea 
Marie Claire Magazine Australia 
Jakarta Post.

Master Sailors Sanakoli and Justin John has established Papua New Guineas first traditional canoe building school, Pasana Group.


SAILAU Trailer


Danish filmmaker Thor F. Jensen, under the apprenticeship of three Papua New Guinean master sailors, Justin John, Sanakoli John and Job Siyae, sets off from Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea, on the 30th of August 2016 on a world-first circumnavigation of the island of New Guinea in a traditional sailau (sailing canoe) called the Tawali Pasana.

While Thor wants to tell a contemporary story of the island, the sailors wish to inspire new generations of sailors, but the team soon realise that the journey is much more difficult than first anticipated. Thor is forced to rethink his position on the canoe and the sailors have to adapt their traditional skills as they face the deadly North West Monsoon.

Over the course of 13 months and 21 days and 6300 km – dodging trecherous reefs, witchcraft and crocodiles – the fellowship of the Tawali Pasana captures the imagination of the island. But to reach the finish line they must all make sacrifices.


During this world-first circumnavigation, we established several partnerships with organizations in Papua New Guinea that will inform project development and social campaigns.

We have established connections with the PNG Tourism Authority, Pacific Maritime Training College, the Massim Museum and the Kenu and Kundu Festival Association who can provide guidance and local context. In terms of financial and in-kind resources, we have sponsorship arrangements with Vanimo Surf Lodge and Tawali Leisure and Dive Resort.

We have already received support from the PNG Ambassador to Europe and the Danish Embassy in Jakarta, which may be used to promote the film to diverse audiences. The sailors and their communities in Milne Bay will be central advisors throughout the process.

Do you want to become a partner?
Contact us at: info@thordox.dk to receive a project brief.

You can also stay updated through our newsletter here.


Justin JohnSailor

Renowned Canoe builder and spear-fisher. Lives on Dawson Island with his wife and six children.

Sanakoli JohnSailor

Expert fisherman and tourist guide. Lives in Nuakata isl. With his wife and four children.

Job SiyaeSailor

Know for his solo canoe journeys and food donations to the health centre. Lives on Normanby Isl. with wife and four children.

Thor F. JensenDirector

Award winning filmmaker and member of the Adventurers’ Club of Denmark. Lives in Alice Springs, Australia.


Director Thor F. Jensen
Producer Dr Sophie Pascoe
Sailor Justin John
Sailor and production advisor Sanakoli John
Sailor Job Siyae 
Drone footage by Paul Kerrison 
Drone and film photography Robert Weber 
Map graphics Sam Moore
Editor Oskar Fanta
Sound design Rob Davidsson
Score SÍmun Mohr
Colorist Nanna Dalunde
Promotion Kevin Alo from M&K Talents