The Kon-Tiki Museum
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Kon-Tiki - short history

Kon-Tiki - short history

Kon-Tiki - short history

Kon-Tiki - in finnish

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-A cracy meeting with the whaleshark!

From the Log book: 24.5 1947:

3 flying-fish on board

06.30 Herman cought dolphin, 1.16 m long on flying-fishing bait

10.00 Erik catches another dolphin, 1.34 m long

12.00 Thor`s bait is interrupted by a six foot long brown fish that passed 10 feet away on starboard. It might have been a shark, but tail fin seemed to be as an ordinary fish. Dolphines are also a nuisance when we bath as they immediately from under neath raft where they keep.

When we come sleepy out of the hut in the morning and put our tooth-brush in sea for clean-up, immediately came a big shining dolphin out to puts its nose right on brush. Putting toe in water has the same result.

12.10 Intenstines and blood from 2 dolphins are thrown into sea to attract shark.

12.55: Thor was just up from dip in sea on starboard bow when a most excited cry was heard from Knut on port-side stern, behind hut, Knut had been leaning over edge of raft washing some underwear, when he looked up and glanced right into the ugliest face any of us have seen in all our lives.

it was the flat and huge head of a regular sea-monster with a frog-like mounth more than 3 feet wide, from the corners of which hung long remora-fishes a foot long and a half long. In front f the monster was a swarm of pilot-fishes, and the huge head continued in a great brown body dotted with white spots like on a will cut.

From the huge head the body converged backwords to a narrow tail that emerged from the surface of the waves together with a big round dorsalfin. The unbelievable creature was about 25 feet long. The entire horror of the sight was embodied in the tone of Knut`s single word: Shark! Which broke in fiestal.

When we all assembled in the stern we were all equally in the stern and we were all equally excited and amazed at what we saw. Swimming calmly back and forth so close that it toughed the stearing oar was a shark so long that head and tail emerged on both sides of the raft simultaously, and with a flat and broad head so incredibly ugly that we all laughed and shouted of excitement. Some long white fishes were also attached to the base of the monster`s fins, and it was like a small rock emerging to the surface with a peculiar marine community depending on it.

We lashed largest dolphin to large hooks, 4 steel leaders and ½ “ rope and tossed before nose of monster.

Calmly it approached like a great submarine, and thus we lured monster right up to edge of raft, it was partly curious partly indifferent, and although constantly following bait it never bothered opening the gap, nor did pilot-fishes attack dolpine. This company we had for about half hour, and boys were so madly exited that Torstein walked on steering oar, the rested monster`s back and everybody run about with harpoons that appeared like tooth-picks beside the monster. Thor filmed.

Finally the monster put the head up to starboard stem where boys stood, and Erik raised hand-harpoon and ran it at all his strength down between his feet into the monster`s neck. It sank deep in. The monster seemed to need a few seconds to realize what was going on.

Then it is very hard to describe what happened. I almost fell down off the hut`s roof with the moving camera and an excited parrot, and saw 3 men chiefly with their feet up in the air while clinging on each other and a little box containing the harpoon rope that flew right into the air
Knut was bleeding from burns of the rope that rushed out a several yards a second. Then there was no more line to go, the ¼” rope bursted like paper, and the handle of the harpoon came to the surface 200 yards away. The shark with our second last harpoon in its neck was never again seen, and the horrified army of pilot-fishes had a terrible time as they chased after to keep company with their old master. We find it highly possible that this monstrous whale-shark is the explanation for one of the phosforoscent and ghost-like gigant seen around raft the other night.

See the original film clip when the Kon-Tiki met the whaleshark. Filmed and told by Thor Heyerdahl

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