The Kon-Tiki Museum
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Kon-Tiki - short history

Kon-Tiki - short history

Kon-Tiki - short history

Kon-Tiki - in finnish

Log book page 1.
27.04 1947 KL. 11.30
At a cermony at Callao Yacht Club the balsa-raft is christened Kon-Tiki by the expedition secretary Miss Gerd Vold who broke a coco nut against its bow. Astern waved the Norwegian flag, in the top mast waved the Peruvian flag and the flag of the Explorerers Club, and its side the flags of U.S.A, Great Britain, Sweden and France. A speech was given by the Expedition-leader, translated from English to Spanish by Bengt Danielsson.

Diplomates from various countries were present, including the Ambassador of U.S.A, the Ambassador of France, the Ambassador of China, the ex-governor of the British possessions in Oceania, the minister of Sweden, the Minister of Belgium and the Consul General of Norway together with various other representatives of Peru and foreign countries. Press and newsreed were well presented.
Kon-Tiki was already loaded for departure, and yet 60 visitors, totaling roughly 3 ½ tons, went on board at a time without affecting buoyancy of the raft noticeably. When loaded the 9 logs forming the raft submerge about 1” more than to the centre of the logs.

- Not everybody believed in Thor Heyerdahl`s teory and the possibility to cross the Pacific with a balsa raft.:
From the book Kon-Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl (1950):

- The biggest balsa exporter in the country had told that the porous balsa logs would float only a quarter of the distance across the sea before they became so completely water-logged that they would sink under us.

- High wagers were made as to how many days the raft would last, and a flippant naval attaché` bet all the whiskey the members of the expeditions could drink for the rest of their lives if they reached the South Sea islands alive.

- Worst of all was when a Norwegian ship came into port and we took the skipper and two of his most experienced sea dogs into the dockyard. We were eager to hear their practical reaction. And our disappointment was great when they all agreed that the blunt-bowed, clumsy craft would never get any help from the sail, while the skipper maintained that, if we kept afloat, the raft would take a year or two to drift across with the Humbolt Current. The boatswain looked at our lashings and shook his head. We need not worry. The raft would not hold together for a fourtnight before every single rope was worn through, for when at sea the big logs would be continually moving up and down and rubbing against one another.

- I knew all the time in my heart that the prehistoric civilization had spread from Peru and across to the islands at a time when rafts like ours were the only vessels on that coast. And I drew the general conclusion that, if balsa wood had floated and lashings held for Kon-Tiki in 500 A.D.., they would do the same for us now if we blindly made our raft an exact copy of his

The balsa raft Kon-Tiki was build in Callao, Peru. Read more about the Kon-Tiki expedition and its background.