The Kon-Tiki Museum
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Kon-Tiki - short history

Kon-Tiki - short history

Kon-Tiki - short history

Kon-Tiki - in finnish

31.5 - This day - the raft is doing well in rough wind, amateurs radio contact in the night

31/5 2 flying-fishes on deck during night. Wind varying in strength and direction from SSE to nearly E. Sea rougher all though less rapidly chasing than last night. Sea temperature has gradually fallen again from 19th of May when it vas 80¤ F to 06.00 this morning, when it was 70¤ F, indicating that we are getting into current again. Current drift is also increasing after having been more or less absent for many days (see log)
08.20 Positions S 7¤ 48’ W 99¤ 18’. We read in ‘Sailing Directions for South America’: “Breakers were reported in 1906 and again in 1926 to exist about 600 miles southwestward of Galapagos Islands in latitude 6¤ 42’S., longitude 99¤ 43’ W. In 1927 a steamer passed on mile westward of this position, but saw no indications of breakers and in 1934 another passed one mile southward and saw no evidence of breakers. The motor- vessel COWRIE, in 1935, obtained no bottom at 160 fathoms in this position

.10.00 To investigate this uncertain locality, and to make it a test of Kon-Tiki’s navigation abilities, we turned all sails and steering-oar at 10 A.M. and mowed directly N instead of WSW. Raft was even willing to go NNE to E in spite of the fact that she readily goes SSE, although this decreases speed when we go to such extremities.
10.30 New course just obtained steadily when the two sharp brown fins of great sward-fish plowed rapidly through the waved close to Thor at the steering-oar. Erik from above in mast observed long sward ‘ nearly as long as body’, and striped brown body. Distance between two fins six feet, possible more.

Sword-fish disappeared westward course. A light shower this morning, We have frequently short drizzles. Sea digging more and more up during day.2 frigate-birds observed and filmed as they caught flying-fishes from great shoal. Glant shark also seen, and several petrels. Last night a bird was heard crying several times like a cat-bird. Are these indications of existence of some nearby reef? Four big tunes again accompany us, in the great seas it seems as if they shall w washed onboard. When they get squeezed into a hissing crest they slide down the glassy water wall like sledging. They look quite different from surface than from under water.
7.00 Torstein fishes 2 big dolphins on flying-fish and rode. Fights for 25 minute with one before getting in onboard. Sea still increasing.

We advance due North according to Erik’s observations. Sea hit us straights from starboard side, tower over us as they approach, and then chase deep underneath. We ride the greatest seas with comfort, only small, unexpected crests behind the others sometimes splash on main deck today. On towering sea was cut off by raft and broke all over foredeck filling up rubber dinghy.

One later splashed in door of hut so Herman’s mattress got socked and Thor’s sleeping-bag we build up a barricade at door to reduce water if similar maneuvers are repeated. Seas dashing against starboard splash back or vertical into air, rarely on deck. We decide to keep course on towards doubtful reefs or breakers by steering due N altering course W tomorrow afternoon. Seas increasing to record size about sunset. Sea crest measured 6 feet above roof of hut. Raft takes them wonderfully.
Rolling incredibly minimal, cooking goes on primus without gimbals nothing rolls around or tips over. Any other small craft would toss around like a ball, big steamers roll badly. Logs have amazing effect in waves. Only danger is when two waves of some strength’ cooperate in attack’ one lifting up wow or port side to permit the other to break rapidly over stern or starboard. In such cases we had seas filling up Erik’s pots and pans on primus while cooking evening meal, others dashing on wall of bamboo hut and into book-shelves and mattresses. Once water dashed in during dark night hours, one voice suggested to’ call the plumber’. Watchman at steering oar had seas washed up to his waist at periods, but it was mild and no worse than wading a river while leaning against water grabbing well on the dancing steering-oar which is secured by heavy ropes inn all possible directions. Wind varies in strength and direction, mostly E. Tough night toiling with ropes around dancing oar in attempt to prevent raft from turning NE or NW whatever it tried to.
Extra long watches as radiomen work all night trying to get article through to the Times, New York. Heard amateurs call us on our frequency and disturb trans still after midnight, then we get through full strength meeting/ then New York operator say’s good night old man’ 2 o’clock and I am off. Let’s try again to-morrow. “

Read more about the Kon-Tiki expedition and its background.