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The raft named Kon-Tiki has marked an interesting story and adventure about navigation sometime in 1947. It was one of the quite controversial voyages in the marine history due to its beliefs and denouements.


The expedition of Kon-Tiki raft in 1947 was attended by a Norwegian writer and explorer Thor Heyerdahl. The navigation virtually went beyond the Pacific Ocean from South America to the Islands of Polynesian. Sounds a bit strange, the name Kon-Tiki was termed after the sun god, Viracocha, for whom this raft was known to be the old name. Also, Kon-Tiki is the name of Heyerdahl’s book, which happened to be an academy award winner of the documentary film. It has been relating to the explorer’s adventures at sea.

The undertakings of Kon-Tiki is not just an ordinary or usual sea exploration. It was substantially an explorer’s adventure with a great purpose. Thor Heyerdahl affirmed that the South American people could have established Polynesia in a pre-Columbian era. Heyerdahl’s goal in escalating the Kon-Tiki voyage was to reveal a significant change in the people’s lives. Essentially, by utilizing only the materials and mechanism available to the individuals at the time. And that, there were without any technical factors to hinder these people from having done so. The expedition did carry some high-end devices such as charts, watches, radio, metal knives, and sextant. With that, Heyerdahl has been believing that such modern equipment is considered incidental to the scope of justifying that the raft itself could go on navigating.



April 28, 1947, significantly marked the beginning of the Kon-Tiki trip having Thor Heyerdahl along with his five companions.

Fundamentally, they have been exploring for a hundred and one days over the 4,300 miles across the Pacific Ocean before crashing into the reef on August 7, 1947. That was a reef at the Raroia in Taumotus. The raft made an outstanding landfall and all came back safely. Along with Heyerdahl were his five men crew, who were Norwegian and a Swede.

  • Thor Heyerdahl was the leader of the expedition and the author and narrator of the expedition book. He had been researching the ancient people of Polynesia and South America, believing of the link between the two.
  • Bengt Danielsson was the only Swedish among the crew, taking the steward role, taking charge of the daily rations and supplies. He was a Swedish sociologist and a prodigious reader.
  • Erik Hesselberg was an artist and a navigator. He was the one who painted the big Kon-Tiki image on the raft’s sail.
  • Torstein Raaby was the one managing the radio transmissions.
  • Knut Haugland, a radio expert who also had a relevant function during the voyage.
  • Herman Watzinger, an Engineer having an expertise in technical measurements. He was the one who gathered and recorded the voyage data.

Together with these people in the exploration was a parrot named Lorita.



The Expedition of Kon-Tiki

This balsa tree trunk made raft began its travel on April 28, 1947, and had left Callao, Peru in the afternoon. To avoid the coastal traffic, Kon-Tiki basically towing 80 km or 50 miles out through the Fleet Tug Guardian Rios of Peruvian Navy. Then, they were sailing west brought along on the Current Humboldt.

The first sight of land seen by the crews was the atoll of Puka-Puka, which happened on July 30. The 97th departure date, August 4 had let Kon-Tiki reaching the Angatau atoll. The members of this voyage were engaging a brief contract with the Angatau Island inhabitants, however, they were unable to land safely. The estimates made by Heyerdahl before the navigation had been implying that ninety-seven days was the least amount of time to be covered in reaching Tuamotu islands. Thus, the meeting with Angatau revealed that they had made a quite good time.

Eventually, the journey of Kon-Tiki ended on August 7, when the raft hit a reef. In the course of time, it stranded on a deserted islet off Raroia atoll in the Tuamotu group. After spending days on the small islet, the team was greeted by men from a nearby island showing up in canoes, as they were noticing washed-up floating debris from the raft. The team of Heyerdahl was brought back to the village. There, the tribe has been entertaining the guests with festivities and traditional dances.

In the end, the Heyerdahl and his crew members were taken off Raroia way to Tahiti by Tamara, a French schooner, along with the restored Kon-Tiki in tow.