This day in 1947 - 4 July at The Kon-Tiki expedition

From Thor Heyerdah`s own logbook:

4/7       5 flying –fishes onboard, one with ¾ inch crustaceous

Parasite on basal part of wing, high seas all night, small rain showers, and ‘ Went North’   in shower about 01.30 but after all hands on deck we got back in SW course after some rowing. When full moon and stars are hidden behind clouds it is quite exiting to hear the soft noise of a huge sea raising slowly to brake nearby in dark, then hear the first rattling when first waterfalls over, then comes the whole thunderous waterfall with many tons of water foaming and boiling around raft and onboard around steersman and way up canvas covered back-wall of hut. Then bamboo rod extending from roof of hut is good to cling on to one jump’s up high till water disappears between logs or over sides. Amazing to see how our little crabs can walk about on logs in the midst of such thunderous foaming water-masses without loosing grasp -on balsa or seaweed.

Since we lost parrot our main pet has become a little brown crab with white design on back .That lives in a little hole in one log near steersman’s foot. When we bend down crab-named Johannes-runs out, and when he holds some bisquit crumbs, fish or canned meat between fingers Johannes comes and scratches it from us, then happily carries it to hole and starts eating by putting claws to south like a human. If the piece is too big Johannes puts it in holes first and then sits on top of it. Other crabs with different colors come out to look, but somehow Johannes has become our pet. (RED: At the Kon-Tiki Museum, in the Kon-Tiki exhibition the crab Johannes is telling the Kon-Tiki story for the kids.)

08.30   We all saw a frigate-bird passing.

09.30   Norwegian and American flags up today, until wind made it necessary to take them down.

(RED:The american flag was given to President Truman who asked for it when Thor Heyerdahl and the Kon-Tiki crew was invited to The White House 14 October 1947. Foto left.

This Summer the Kon-Tiki Museum is happy to exhibit this flag for the first time together with the Explorer Club flag and the norwegian flag which allso took the trip across the Pasific in 1947. (Foto below from The Kon-Tiki Museum July 2014) The american flag is usually located in Truman Museum in USA) 

Southern sky black of compact clouds and sudden wind sprang up increasing in a moment from 1 300 to 1 900 feet pr. Minute according to ammometer. Then we stopped measuring wind and all hands on deck securing everything and covering but with canvas, while wind bartend sails and whistled in all ropes. Spoam sailed through air from crests of seas which still were 12 to 15 feet, heavy horizontal rain.

14.30   We are still in midst of worst weather on hole trip. Storm comes in waves carrying along thick rain. All afternoon densely overcast. Wind fairly steady from ESE but turns sometime so sails batter like gunfire and all hands must on deck-nude and shining wet of rain-to keep raft on course, Air full of salt spray sixed with rain, and Kon-Tiki, surf-rides high seas. It is quite some going. We feel safer than on the deck of any bit steamer, as we see how raft takes the weather as always before. Our speed is up to 2 ½ knop although we try to take wind in from close to port side. Top mail is down. Big tunas are still around seas to have eaten our pilots. They bite on flying-fish, bonito and silver spoon when we toss it about on surface, but always manage to tear off line, hook or bait. Two sharks also appear on top of high seas astern once in a while. We roll a good deal but the rain seems to press down most breaking crests at this moment. Everybody onboard is in top spirit shining wet ad happy. This is quite some weather.

15.30   Wind strength measured 2 400 feet pr. Minutes, still dark in all directions. Wind unable to lay raft over but we have to be on very close watch for steering with wind from port side, sea full of fish around us. Erik puts cut bonito bait but dolphins always first, pulled in big dolphin, but just now tuna rushed out from under raft and swalloved bait. We use Commander Quest’s fishing gear. Tuna is caught, length 1, 41 m. Hard night at steering oar as wind varies about 2.000 feet pr. Minutes till late morning and seas 15 feet. Also steering sail is down not to blow to pieces. And stern centre-board is not free for use, turned north a few times during night with sleepy men battling nude in darkness with ropes and main sail and oars. It was dark and rolling and slippery with seas foaming over astern and on side when we have wrong course.


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