Last Kon-Tiki sailor dies.

Reply Sun 27 Dec, 2009 09:57 pm
And he apparently was a major player in the resistance to the Nazi's in his homeland.

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Reply Sun 27 Dec, 2009 10:21 pm
Apparently, he was not on the later voyage of the Ra.
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Reply Mon 28 Dec, 2009 07:32 am
I remember reading Kon-Tiki and Aku Aku as a kid. Was never clear as to what they were trying to prove other than the original Polynesians could make it to SOuth America. If that was the case, why did they sail the other way? If they went along with the prevailing currents they could havecut many weeks off their original trip.
Reply Mon 28 Dec, 2009 09:47 am
Amazing, mysteryman. Glad you started this topic. I love Thor Hyerdahl, buddy.
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Reply Mon 28 Dec, 2009 09:50 am
farmerman, I read Kon Tiki , Aku Aku, and the Ra expeditions as a child as well.

Here are some observations, and I hope mm doesn't mind my cut and paste, as I had to remind myself.

Some twenty years after Kon-Tiki, Heyerdahl observed similarities in the ancient cultures of the Olmecs and the Egyptians, and surmised that a reed boat may have long ago crossed the Atlantic Ocean, carrying Egyptian ideas and technologies into South America. So of course, he set out to prove it was a possibility. This book describes the long and tedious route Heyerdahl had to take to get the boat built, his many visits to remote lakes in Africa, his theories and comparisons of the ancient cultures. I was continually astonished by things I read in this book. Papyrus reeds no longer grow in Egypt, so he had to travel to the source of the Nile to find them. He had to go to lake Chad to find people who still knew how to build reed boats (and there the local people live on floating reed islands!) The building crew copied designs meticulously from ancient paintings on the walls of Egyptian tombs, and failed to understand the significance of one rope on the boat, which caused the first Ra to start to fall apart before they made it across the ocean. He had a second boat built, properly this time, which sailed all the way in record time. Amazing. I didn't enjoy it quite as much as Kon-Tiki, but still thrilled to read the account.

The famous picture of the Kon-Tiki expedition was received with public acclaim throughout the world in 1947. This sensational picture shows how the 6 men built their raft of very light balsa wood and crossed 4300 miles of the open Pacific Ocean. It relates the whole story from April 28 1947 when the Kon-Tiki raft wastowed out of the Callao-harbour in Peru into the Humboldt Current, - till the raft was washed ashore on the Raroria reef inside Polynesia 101 days later.

The Kon-Tiki proved to be eminently sea-worthy, with an amazing carrying capacity. The raft was at various occasions visited by whales, and two specimens of the Gempylus or snake-mackerel, a fish which never previously had been seen alive by man, jumped aboard from out of the deep. On one occasion the six men on the raft made the acquaintance, at uncomfortably close range, with the whaleshark, the world's largest fish, which kept on swimming right under the raft until it was finally driven off with aid of a hand-harpoon. The raft was caught in two storms, one of them lasting for five days. The greatest danger that threatened was falling overboard in strong winds, and at one such event a man was almost lost.

Heyerdahl is most controversially associated with an attempt to revive the theory that the islanders stone-carving technology came from South America. He argued that in addition to having been settled by Polynesians, Easter Island was settled by people from Peru in South America (an area he described as being "more culturally developed")

"Aku-aku" can refer to moving a tall, flat-bottomed object (such as a bookshelf) by swiveling it alternatively on its corners in a "walking" fashion. Heyerdahl theorised that the moai (statues) of Easter Island were moved in this fashion. He tested this theory on a small moai; however, he quickly abandoned the test after the moai's base was damaged.

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