Kon Tiki, now there was a true adventure

10:37 p.m. on November 10, 2013 (EST)
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I am watching Kon Tiki the 2012 movie about the expedition lead by Thor Heyerdah; below is the Wikipedia version of the story.


Kon-Tiki was the raft used by Norwegian explorer and writer Thor Heyerdahl in his 1947 expedition across the Pacific Ocean from South America to the Polynesian islands. It was named after the Inca sun god, Viracocha, for whom "Kon-Tiki" was said to be an old name. Kon-Tiki is also the name of Heyerdahl's book; the Academy Award-winning documentary film chronicling his adventures; and the 2012 dramatised feature film nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

Heyerdahl believed that people from South America could have settled Polynesia in pre-Columbiantimes, although most anthropologists now believe they did not.[1][2][3] His aim in mounting the Kon-Tikiexpedition was to show, by using only the materials and technologies available to those people at the time, that there were no technical reasons to prevent them from having done so. Although the expedition carried some modern equipment, such as a radio, watches, charts, sextant, and metal knives, Heyerdahl argued they were incidental to the purpose of proving that the raft itself could make the journey.

The Kon-Tiki expedition was funded by private loans, along with donations of equipment from the United States Army. Heyerdahl and a small team went to Peru, where, with the help of dockyard facilities provided by the Peruvian authorities, they constructed the raft out of balsa logs and other native materials in an indigenous style as recorded in illustrations by Spanish conquistadores. The trip began on April 28, 1947. Heyerdahl and five companions sailed the raft for 101 days over 6900 km (4,300 miles) across the Pacific Ocean before smashing into a reef atRaroia in the Tuamotu Islands on August 7, 1947. The crew made successful landfall and all returned safely.

Thor Heyerdahl's book about his experience became a bestseller. It was published in 1948 as The Kon-Tiki Expedition: By Raft Across the South Seas, later reprinted as Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific in a Raft. A documentary motion picture about the expedition, also called Kon-Tiki was produced from a write-up and expansion of the crew's filmstrip notes and won an Academy Award in 1951. It was directed by Thor Heyerdahl and edited by Olle Nordemar. The voyage was also chronicled in the documentary TV-series The Kon-Tiki Man: The Life and Adventures of Thor Heyerdahl, directed by Bengt Jonson.[4]

The original Kon-Tiki raft is now on display in the Kon-Tiki Museum in Oslo.

I am watching the movie at Netflix, here is the link to it:


5:16 p.m. on November 12, 2013 (EST)
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I agree GP, that tour was really stunning. Btw the film is supposed to be accurate in most details. Only the episode where one member brings out a steel rope to strengthen the raft is invented just to dramatize the movie.

6:41 p.m. on November 12, 2013 (EST)
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Several years ago I took out Heyerdahl's book FATU HIVA where he and his wife forsook civilization and went to live on an island in the Marquesas.  Here's a short quote---

"The sun shone as merrily as before on the golden walls of the bamboo cabin. We missed nothing. We certainly did not miss civilization." Chapter II.

     Here's a good quote from a Frenchman Thor Heyerdahl meets on the jungle island of Hivaoa: "We will leave this little island and go to Tahiti. And from Tahiti we go to France! exclaimed the slender man. "I would trade you a thousand palms for a single pine needle beneath the snow."

That about says it all.

8:37 p.m. on November 12, 2013 (EST)
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In the movie at first they had trouble heading the right direction as the current took them towards the Galapagos Islands, then just before the islands the current and wind changed taking them to Polynesia. 

I like the scene where the Whale Shark swims by and they all panic thinking it is going to capsize them, then one guy really panics and harpoons it almost flipping the Kon Tiki.

I read later that it has been proven that Peru and/or South America was not the place that Polynesia was settled from?

10:56 p.m. on November 12, 2013 (EST)
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Thor is the perfect example of an ethnographer/anthropologist that loses touch with their scientific field...he essentially "went native" in which he lost all outside perspective and began to accept Polynesian traditions as more credible than the vast amount of ethnographic and linguistic data that suggested otherwise during his time. To his credit..radio-carbon dating and DNA research were not in existence (or just coming into existence) at the time of his research...so his theory (grounded on the fact that pineapples and sweet potatoes were cultivated in Polynesia and indigenous to South America) remained a plausible...if not highly unlikely theory. Later however...radio-carbon dating and DNA research made it clear that while there was contact between the Americas and Polynesia...this contact came well after Polynesia had been settled by people's from the West...and rather than Americans sailing to Polynesia as Thor suggested...it seems more likely that Polynesians sailed to the Americas and back.

7:03 a.m. on November 13, 2013 (EST)
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10:41 a.m. on November 13, 2013 (EST)
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Joseph, that’s a great summation on the merits of a posteriori versus a priori arguments.

11:53 a.m. on November 13, 2013 (EST)
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Ha!...that's some funny...if not a little nerdy...humor you got there North1:-)

June 24, 2018
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