Would you be able to sail a hundred and one days on a wooden raft across the ocean? I couldn't exactly. And here it is not only the selflessness of people who decided on such a journey that is striking, but also its organization. After all, it was necessary to assemble a team of like-minded people, agree with the authorities of the countries on supporting the expedition, and eventually build this raft…
In short, there were many obstacles, but one Norwegian traveler managed to realize such an event. His name was Thor Heyerdahl…
In 1947, Thor Heyerdahl, with five other equally desperate travelers, decided to cross a good half of the Pacific Ocean from the coast of Peru to the islands of Micronesia. Thus, he wanted to prove his theory that the islands in the Pacific Ocean could be settled by Indians from South America.
If his raft reaches the islands, then the theory is correct, and the Indians could easily travel across the ocean with their level of development of science and technology. If not, then it is completely incomprehensible who and how could populate Easter Island and other islands in the Pacific Ocean. Are they aliens?
The length of the raft was a little over ten meters, so it was possible to sit on it with six people, but without much comfort. They cooked on gas burners in camping utensils, and they took food mainly from canned food, plus they caught fish, which in the Pacific Ocean, well, just heaps. Sometimes flying fish even jumped onto the deck themselves.
We also took some fresh products like coconuts with us, but they did it more for scientific purposes: we needed to understand if coconuts themselves could sail from South America to Polynesia.
Shared room for six crew members
Spoiler alert: Coconuts don't survive such a long journey, flopping around in salty seawater. So Polynesian palms could have grown exclusively from coconuts that people carried with them on rafts, much like Thor Heyerdahl and his team.
A simple diet of travelers
Thor Heyerdahl was inspired by the idea of traveling on a raft across the ocean in his youth, when, after graduating from university, he and his wife went for a year to the islands of the Marquesas Archipelago (also in the Pacific Ocean). There, a local tribal leader told them a story about the deity Kon-Tiki, who showed the way to their ancestors from the “Mainland”.
Through ten years, Thor Heyerdahl decides to test the ancient Polynesian legend in practice to find out if the inhabitants of America could swim to Polynesia on their rafts.
The raft was built from balsa wood – a material with exceptional buoyancy
In one hundred and one days, the raft covered almost seven thousand kilometers. Thor Heyerdahl and his team landed on the island of Raroia near Tahiti.
The balsa raft has stood the test of ocean storms. Moreover, he survived so well that a whole museum was built for him in Oslo. Now anyone can come and see the original raft, on which 75 years ago six daredevils crossed the ocean.
Would like to to look at Thor Heyerdahl's original raft that survived a trip across the Pacific Ocean? The raft itself is not so much remarkable as its history is fascinating…