In pursuit of paradise a theory takes shape
1937-1938, Thor Heyerdahl and his wife, Liv, spent a year on the volcanic
island of Fatu-Hiva in the Marquesas
Islands in the Pacific Ocean. The trip to Fatu-Hiva was a zoological study looking at how the various animals could have reached a Pacific island
They wanted to live as one with nature and thought they would find a paradise on earth. It did not work out this way.
Illness and other troubles resulted in them returning to civilisation after a year. However, Thor Heyerdahl had made observations that awakened his lifelong interest in studying possible interaction between South America and Polynesia.
Thor Heyerdahl noticed how the tradewinds and ocean currents from America determined the island’s fauna and flora. Papaya, breadfruit, pineapple, sweet potato, pumpkin and wild cotton were plants that people had brought from South America before the Europeans arrived.
Heyerdahl also discovered similarities between reliefs and stone statues from South America and on Fatu-Hiva.
His theory that Polynesia could have been populated from South America began to take shape.
Thor Heyerdahl also had long conversations with the old chieftain, Tei Tetua, who told him of the legend of Tiki who had brought his forefathers over the sea to these islands from the east.
The nearest land in the east was South America. This strengthened Thor Heyerdahl’s theory.