Thor Heyerdahl catches the winds again

Ten years after his death, the adventurer Thor Heyerdahl receives renewed attention with the coming film 'Kon-Tiki' which will be launched August 24 this year. Learn more about the courageous, Norwegian seafarer Thor Heyerdahl.


Thor Heyerdahl - The famous Norwegian explorer. 
Photo: From the Kon-Tiki Museum.Thor Heyerdahl - The famous Norwegian explorer. Photo: From the Kon-Tiki Museum
 

Thor Heyerdahl led an extraordinary life with several dangerous and historical expeditions at sea. His first, and probably most famous expedition, is the Kon-Tiki expedition, where the goal was to test the abilities of the traditional balsa wood raft on the Pacific Ocean, in addition to his theory that the inhabitants of Polynesia were descendants of South Americans.

The Kon-Tiki expedition was carried out in 1947. After 101 days at sea, having sailed approximately 8000 km with the winds, the balsa raft stranded on the island Raroia in Tuamotu, Polynesia.                                                                                             

The balsa wood raft The balsa wood raft "Kon-Tiki" was named after a legendary Inca, seafaring sun-king. Photo: From the Kon-Tiki Museum
 

This crushed the general scientific hypothesis that the population on Polynesia was a result of Asian migration. Heyerdahl had now proved that South American migration on a balsa fleet was possible.

After his success with Kon-Tiki, he carried out several expeditions among those to Galapagos and Easter Islands leading to important archeological discoveries.

Also, Heyerdahl in 1970 succeeded with the Ra II expedition, where they sailed from Morocco in Africa to Barbados in the Caribbean over the Atlantic Ocean. The means of transportation was now a reed boat constructed with papyrus and the traditional technology of the Aymara Indians in Bolivia.                                                                                               

 Ra II crossed the Atlantic Ocean and was built out of papyrus. 
Photo: From the Kon-Tiki Museum. Ra II crossed the Atlantic Ocean and was built out of papyrus. Photo: From the Kon-Tiki Museum

His main goal with the expeditions was to prove that the world seas had been used as transportation routes long before Colombus discovered America.

Thor Heyerdahl left a rich legacy of knowledge with several books, photographs, manuscripts, scientific publications and documentaries. His documentary about the Kon-Tiki expedition received the Oscar award in 1951.

 

Heyerdahls archives were registered in the UNESCO Memory of the World in 2011.

The new film will be launched August 24 in the Opera House in Oslo, Norway.

You can watch the trailer here:


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