Kon Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl




First lines:  "Once in a while you find yourself in an odd situation.  You get into it by degrees and in the most natural way but, when you are right in the midst of it, you are suddenly astonished and ask yourself how in the world it all came about."


Back cover:  Kon-Tiki is the record of an astonishing adventure -- a journey of 4,300 nautical miles across the Pacific Ocean by raft. Intrigued by Polynesian folklore, biologist Thor Heyerdahl suspected that the South Sea Islands had been settled by an ancient race from thousands of miles to the east, led by a mythical hero, Kon-Tiki. He decided to prove his theory by duplicating the legendary voyage.
On April 28, 1947, Heyerdahl and five other adventurers sailed from Peru on a balsa log raft. After three months on the open sea, encountering raging storms, whales, and sharks, they sighted land -- the Polynesian island of Puka Puka.
Translated into sixty-five languages, Kon-Tiki is a classic, inspiring tale of daring and courage -- a magnificent saga of men against the sea.

I've had Kon-Tiki on my shelves for quite a while, relegated it to the bathroom and had been reading it a few pages at a time, until one day it finally captured my attention enough to make it a priority.  The first three chapters of the book goes into detail as he discussed copying Tiki's voyage, decided to really do it, got permission, put together a crew and traveled through a war zone to get the same wood as the legends of Tiki had used to build the raft. 

Once they launched, life got interesting as the men went with the flow of the water and nature. They learned what plants to eat which allowed them to drink sea water and avoid getting sick as well as harvesting plankton in the middle of the ocean.    I was particularly fascinated by all the underwater life in the middle of the sea that on an ordinary motorized ship would have gone unnoticed.  History and nature combined with Thor and the crew's dedication and courage to follow in Tiki's footsteps (or should I say 'wake') made for quite an adventure. 

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