The Kon-Tiki Sails Again!

"Nearly 60 years after Thor Heyerdahl’s Pacific Ocean crossing aboard the balsa raft Kon-Tiki, a Norwegian team is in Peru putting final touches on a new vessel to repeat the journey," the AP reports.

The original Kon-Tiki in 1947.

"I think we are mentally prepared and we are really, really anxious to put this raft in the ocean," said Olav Heyerdahl, 28, the adventurer’s grandson and one of the six-member crew.

Behind him in a dry-dock in Lima’s port of Callao loomed the balsa raft Tangaroa — named for the Polynesian god of the ocean — which is scheduled to set sail April 28.

The expedition had been set for last year, but was postponed after key sponsors diverted funds to help victims of the 2004 Southeast Asian tsunami.

In 1947, Thor Heyerdahl and his team sailed their primitive raft 5,000 miles from Peru to Polynesia in 101 days to support Heyerdahl’s theory that the South Sea Islands were settled by ancient mariners from South America. Heyerdahl, who died in 2002 at age 87, documented his voyage in the best-selling book "Kon-Tiki" and in an Oscar-winning documentary film.

The adverturer’s 67-year-old son, Thor Heyerdahl Jr., came to Peru to see the new vessel and cheer on his own son. "I’m very happy for him that he gets this opportunity," he said.

The new 56-foot vessel is larger than the Kon-Tiki, with eight crossbeams lashed to 11 balsa logs from Ecuador and covered by a bamboo deck. Atop a hardwood cabin, the crew fitted a thatched-reed roof made by Aymara Indians.

The Kon-Tiki carried only the most basic equipment, even by 1947 standards. But the Tangaroa features abundant modern technology, including solar panels to generate electricity and satellite navigation and communications gear.

We’re not sure if the expedition has Internet access while adrift in the South Pacific, but it is possible if they contacted Connexion by Boeing, which uses SES-Americom’s AMC-23 satellite, which is the only satellite that they can use for Internet based on their route.

Consider that a modern factoid for an ancient journey. 

 

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