Acali Experiment: Where Are They Now?

It was back in 1973 when Spanish-born Mexican anthropologist Santiago Genovés conceived a social experiment unlike any other revolving around a small group of people from all walks of life. He essentially had them drift across an entire ocean in isolation for over 100 days to really explore the way people naturally connect, just for it to be named “The Acali Expedition” after their raft/vessel. So now that over five decades have gone by and inspired productions such as Discovery Channel’s ‘Survive the Raft’ have come to light — let’s just find out more about its crew’s current standing, shall we?

Santiago Genovés Has Sadly Passed Away

Image Credit: BBC

The truth is not only did 49-year-old Santiago devise this entire extreme endeavor from Spain to Mexico, but he also participated in it to attain the required knowledge of human behavior first-hand. Though little did he know his efforts would soon be dubbed “Sex Raft” owing to things that transpired on board, just for him to gain the recognition he deserved over a decade later with another research altogether. This author and ex-Ra expedition team member had actually helped originate as well as sign the Seville Statement on Violence in 1986, over 26 years prior to his demise from apparent old age at 89.

José María Montero Pérez is an Anthropologist Himself

While José was in fact Santiago’s former student, this 34-year-old was granted a spot on the voyage on his own merit, which he later proved while hacking a shark with an ax for good meat. He was already a rising anthropologist by this point, carefully engaged in studying human aspects from past and present societies alike to get a clearer idea of evolution, but not nearly at his mentor’s level. Yet today, at 84, this Uruguayan truly appears to be reaching that class thanks to his unwavering hard work and determination, especially as it seems like he’s still active in his chosen sub-field.

Servane Zanotti is Seemingly Leading a Quiet Life These Days

Image Credit: The Raft

Servane was reportedly positively elected to be a part of this exciting journey at the age of 32 due to her professional skills as a scuba diver as well as her ability to conduct pollution research. From what we can tell, she undertook her responsibilities rather well as the months passed by despite having her fair share of ups and downs owing to the limited space plus social isolation. Therefore, by the end, she’d ostensibly decided to move on with life in her homeland of France while preferring to remain well away from the limelight, which seemingly hasn’t changed over the decades. In other words, we unfortunately don’t know much regarding her professional or recent personal experiences.

Charles Anthony Has Likely Since Passed Away

Image Credit: BBC

Although it’s unclear precisely what then-37-year-old Greek Cypriot got up to following his time on Acali as a radio operator, he probably did manage to move on, settle down, and build a family of his own. However, considering more than five decades have gone by and he didn’t feature in the 2018 documentary ‘The Raft’ — wherein surviving members relive their experiences — it feels safe to assume he has since unfortunately passed. We obviously can’t be 100% certain about this because there is genuinely no public information available on him as of writing, but this does seem to be the most reasonable explanation.

Rachida Mazani Has Built a Good Life for Herself

Image Credit: The Raft

At the age of 23, Algerian librarian Rachida — responsible for conducting pollution research -—was not only one of the youngest but also one of the most beautiful individuals onboard Acali. It thus comes as little surprise she was the one to reveal in 2018 that “Of course Santiago wanted sexual things to happen between people. Absolutely. Two men fighting over the women and things like that.” Nevertheless, she purportedly managed to walk away from the whole experience sort of unscathed and later moved on to have a beautiful life and family of her own — she now goes by Rachida Lièvre.

Mary Gidley is Now a Proud Author

Mary was a recently single mother of three leading an unconventional life in 1973, despite having started her professional career in California to work on a daily newspaper upon graduating college, ultimately making her sign onto “The Acali Expedition.” This adventure was hence eye-opening for the navigator, resulting in her subsequently raising her kids in San Rafael, California, as she took up jobs like a bookkeeper, fish slimmer, waitress, reporter, teacher, tutor, and tennis instructor over the years.

However, Mary has again turned her life upside down in the past five years by evolving into an author — she published her debut book, a detailed autobiography titled ‘Point to Point: The Meanderings and Musings of My Life,’ independently in 2019. And since then, this grandmother has ostensibly been focusing on not only a screenplay she’s writing alongside a partner in Boise, Idaho, but also her passions of competitive swimming, music, sailing, and tennis, all the while surrounding herself with family.

Fé Evangelina Seymour is Now a Retired IT Expert

Like Rachida, Fé was also merely 23 when she stepped onboard the Acali as a radio operator, unaware she’d end up plotting Santiago’s murder with the crew owing to how he was running things. She’s actually glad they didn’t follow through despite his apparent blatant racism and sexism but concedes the whole ordeal has shaped who she is as a person, a wife, a mother, plus a grandmother. This 73-year-old reportedly raised her family in Fairbanks, Alaska, where she also climbed up the telecom industry ladder as an engineer/IT expert before eventually retiring to focus on her personal life again in the home-rule city.

Maria Björnstam Continues to Reside in Her Homeland

While it’s true Santiago had handpicked Swedish native Maria to be the captain of his voyage, he himself apparently couldn’t handle the way she calmly yet powerfully navigated every issue. She had briefly refused to fulfill her role through a massive storm due to the harsh way she was being treated and thus stripped of her title, only for it to soon be reinstated considering her skills. Nevertheless, once this 30-year-old stepped off the raft, she returned to Sweden and decided to remain there only; surrounded by the waters, love, comfort, as well as her people — it’s where she is even today too.

Edna Jonas Might be Residing in Germany Today

When Edna was selected as the sole doctor for this infamous endeavor, she was a 32-year-old Czechoslovak resident in Israel who’d completed her studies at Tel Aviv University. Though the reason she became quite crucial for Santiago was the fact he got most of his salacious bits of research from her — she’d had consensual sex with both Charles Antony and Eisuke Yamaki while onboard. Yet no one else really seemed to care in the long run, enabling her to go back to normalcy once everything was said and done; so now, this anesthetic as well as emergency doctor is apparently based in Germany with a family of her own.

Bernardo Bongo Keeps Well Away From the Spotlight

Despite the fact Bernardo was a 29-year-old celibate Angolan Catholic priest, Santiago apparently desperately wanted him to match up with the only other African-American on board. According to Fe, who is six years younger than this pastor, in ‘The Raft: “He suggested I should have a sexual relationship with Bernardo because we were both black. It was racist.” They hence obviously didn’t cross that line for more reasons than one, and it appears as if the former has since preferred to keep both his personal and professional lives well away from the spotlight for understandable privacy.

Eisuke Yamaki is a Family Man Still in Japan

Last but not least, we have then 29-year-old cameraman/photographer Eisuke, who vividly remembers his first impression of some of the women on the crew. “Rachida, Maria, and Mary were all very beautiful,” he conceded in ‘The Raft.’ “Fe was voluptuous, fertile, and very feminine” — he didn’t say anything particular about Edna at that point, but it’s true that he later slept with her. Though coming to his current standing, from what we can tell through his limited online presence, he’s now a proud family man based out of Hachioji, Tokyo, whose professional life is unfortunately unclear.

Read More: Survive the Raft: Where Are The Cast Members Now?