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The Kon-Tiki Expedition

The Kon-Tiki Expedition



The Kon-Tiki Expedition is primarily the record of a voyage across the Pacific Ocean, an expedition headed by Norwegian biologist, Thor Heyerdahl. Inspired by Polynesian folklore, Thor concluded that the South Sea Islands were populated by an ancient Peruvian race led by the mythical, bearded hero Kon-Tiki. Thor’s theory was reasonable except for one crucial aspect, how did pre-Columbian, Inca Indians have a vessel capable of crossing such an immense distance? The only water transportation the Incas possessed, had been small balsa rafts, and of course such a fragile raft could never cross an ocean before falling to bits.

However, Thor Heyerdahl was convinced that Polynesia was settled by people from Peru, and he became extremely fed up with his peers for dismissing the theory because of the supposedly insufficient rafts. So, despite warnings and bets against him, Thor organized a small expedition of six men, Knut Haugland: a world war resistance fighter and two time Gestapo escapee, Bengt Danielssen: an anthropologist and the only Swede, Erik Hesselberg: an Artist and nautical enthusiast, Thorstein Raaby: a world war two Norwegian spy and radio operator, Herman Watzinger: a refrigerator salesman and engineer, and, of course, Thor himself.

Building a simple balsa wood raft was easier said than done. Wanting to have the raft ready by April 1947, they were forced to find building materials during the rainy season. The raft would require 9 large balsa logs, logs lumber yards didn’t have. It soon became evident that the men would either have to wait until the dry season or go into the flooded rain forest. Determined to set sail in April, Thor and Herman headed out to find a guide to take them into the rain forest, and into the kingdom of the balsa mogul, Don Fredrico.

They found a guide, Agurto, but he didn’t come cheap, the flash floods and robbers made for expensive transportation. In spite of the hazards the men made it to Don Fredrico’s safe and sound and selected nine enormous balsa logs. From there they took the logs to a military dock in Callao harbour, where they began the rafts construction. Though many warned about the rafts instability, and the probability of the crew making it back to land alive, the six men remained confident in their vessel, dubbed ‘kon-Tiki’ after the hero of so long ago.

Then on April 28th, 1947 the kon-Tiki was towed out of the harbour and out into open sea. The first week proved to be hard, but no harder than any expected. The Kon-Tiki held together and the crew were rewarded with sunny skies and a strong wind. Over the course of the long trip everyday seemed an adventure, befriending pilot fish, falling overboard, discovering a new species (Snake mackerel),and wrestling sharks(for fun).After nearly one hundred days at sea(3 and a half months),they saw land but due to limited steering and strong wind they could not avoid crashing into the Raria island reef. They swam to land and were discovered by friendly natives who took them in and held a feast for the ‘white men’. Then a Norwegian ship took them and the grounded raft aboard, and delivered them all safely back to America.

Despite the tremendous effort of Thor Heyerdahl and his crew, it has been proven that the South Sea Islands were not populated by Peruvian peoples. There is a Kon-Tiki museum in Oslo that houses the raft, as well as statue dedicated to all Thor has done to prevent ocean pollution and promote the awareness of global warming. Thor and his team have gone on many other adventures, including a trip across the Atlantic in an Egyptian reed ship. These Norwegian explorers have dedicated their lives to ocean voyages that attempted to show (maybe not prove) that ancient sailors could cross oceans in vessels that "experts" swore would sink in just an hour at sea.Дадаць дакумент у свой блог ці на сайт 2014-07-19 18:44
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