Travel on Kohn - Tiki. How Round Heyerdal turned adventure into sensation?
on April 28, 1947 from small port Callao the unusual train went to the coast of Peru to the Pacific Ocean. The powerful boat dragged the balsovy raft which is filled up with bags, baskets, clusters of bananas on a tow. On a raft six travelers headed by Round by Heyerdal intended, having given on will to winds and ocean currents, to reach Polynesia.
It is natural that similar travel was apprehended as frank adventure. Therefore there are a lot of correspondents and just gapers gathered to look at the people who chose so extravagant way of collective suicide. Soon the boats with gapers accompanying a raft turned back, and only the boat, hoarsely puffing, Kohn - Tiki to the open ocean continued to pull. Approximately in 50 miles from the coast the crew of the boat said goodbye to travelers, and for them long and extremely dangerous way to unknown began.
This surprising travel had the background. Also it began in ten years prior to this swimming in the center of the Pacific Ocean on a small island of the Markizsky archipelago where Round Heyerdal with the spouse conducted researches. Later he remembered that in one of warm evenings “we looked at the clouds floating over us, on the sea worrying, lit with the moon and listened to the half-naked old man who squated and did not take eyes from the dying-away fire pieces of coal.
- Tics, - the old man quietly spoke, - was god and the leader. Tiki brought my ancestors on these islands where we live also now. Earlier we lived in the big country, there, far overseas...“.
This conversation sank down to the traveler in memory. Strangely enough, correctness of the old man Heyerdal found the first confirmations directly on the island archipelago, it appeared, “that huge sculptures of Tiki in the local jungle are surprisingly similar to stone statues - monuments of the disappeared cultures in South America“.
Then work in archives, the museums, studying of ancient manuscripts and drawings in which rafts of ancient Indians of South America were represented followed. Finally the idea of travel on a raft from the Latin American coast to the islands of Polynesia to confirm a possibility of such way of settling of island archipelagoes, was issued one year prior to departure.
Heyerdal - York tried to interest in the theory the old venerable scientist in New, but that gave a hostile reception to it. “You are mistaken, are mistaken in a root, - he repeated and indignantly shook the head as if shaking out from it so heretical thought“, - the traveler remembered later. On attempts of objections “the old man smiled and quietly told:
- Well, try to pass from Peru to the Pacific islands on a balsovy raft“.
Soon the decision on similar travel was made. Five more people - Cnut Haugland, Bengt Danijelsson, Eric Hesselberg, Tursteyn Robyu and Herman Vattsinger risked to go to risky expedition with Heyerdal. In Peru they constructed the raft similar to what was done earlier by Indians of nine enormous trunks of a balsovy tree. Travelers named the raft “Game - Tiki“.
The first days of swimming showed that the raft is steady, answers the helm and, thanks to an ocean current and winds, slowly but surely moves in the necessary direction. On a raft relative order was brought, all property, devices and edibles reliably fixed. At once distributed duties and painted watches.
Later Heyerdal in the book in detail described everyday life on a raft and a duty of each crew member. Bengt “most likely could be found in the doorway of a cabin where he lay on a stomach, having gone deep into one of seventy three volumes of the library. And in general we appointed him the steward, it it measured to us a day ration.
Herman could appear anywhere at any time - with meteorological devices on a mast, with underwater points under a raft where he checked shvert, behind a stern, in an inflatable boat where he was engaged in balloons and some unclear devices. He was our chief of technical part and was responsible for meteorological and hydrographic supervision.
Knt and Torsteyn endlessly pottered with the dampened dry batteries, soldering irons and schemes. Every night they serially were on duty and sent our official reports and weather reports to air.
Eric most often patched a sail, either spliced ropes, or cut out wooden sculptures, or drew bearded people and surprising fishes. Precisely at midday he armed with a sextant and climbed up a box to have a look at the sun and to calculate how many we passed per day. I diligently filled in the logbook, made official reports, collected tests of plankton and fishes, shot the movie“.
On a raft all for two hours kept the watch, and, at night the person on duty surely became attached a rope. The questions connected with the current activity solved at general meetings, together making decisions. In turn cooked food which basis was made by fish and the dry rations received on test from military. Before an exit in swimming of a box with rations asphalted to prevent hit in them sea water. During swimming water thoroughly impaired a little part of canned food which was not asphalted.
The raft was not big, only 14 meters from a nose to a stern, and it was quite reliable though logs gradually began to absorb water. When during swimming from logs under water otkolupnut several chips, they just drowned. The small sizes of a raft on which it was extremely difficult to take cover from bad weather created household problems. In a small hut it was only possible to lie or sit. The following record of Heyerdal gives an idea of its sizes: “I looked to the right, deep into a dark hut. There the bearded person lay on a back and Goethe read; fingers of his legs were pushed through a bamboo lattice of a low ceiling of a shaky, tiny hut - our general house“.
With all problems arising during swimming, travelers coped quite successfully. They could count only on own forces. If something occurred, the help was not come to the rescue as the route passed away from maritime routes. Fortunately, they managed to avoid whole gales and attacks of sea predators though sharks were turned around a raft more than once.
Contrary to pessimistic forecasts swimming took place successfully, having become world sensation. On August 7, 1947 the raft approached the atoll Raroia entering island Tuamotu Archipelago. In the ocean travelers spent 101 days, having overcome 8000 kilometers. Heyerdal and his satellites proved that on balsovy rafts similar swimmings could be made and in the ancient time, doing quite probable and rather safe migration of people of Latin America on the islands of Polynesia.
By results of swimming by Heyerdal the book “Travel on Kohn - Tiki“ which at once became the world best-seller was written, and the documentary about surprising swimming across the ocean soon received “Oscar“. It is natural that travelers had followers who wished to pass in the same way. Suggested to take part in new swimming also Tura Heyerdalu, but it had other plans. Ahead of the courageous Norwegian waited for not less impudent and dangerous swimmings, new fascinating books and movies.
To a legendary raft “the Game - Tiki“ was lucky. From Papeete port to Tahiti where travelers waited for an opportunity for homecoming, they together with a raft were taken away by the Norwegian vessel. Now the legendary raft is in Oslo where the museum Kohn - Tiki is created. Except a raft the papyrian castle of “Ra II“ which crossed Atlantic from Morocco to Barbados and also a set of the relics brought by the great traveler from the expeditions is exposed here.
Time does not reduce interest in surprising swimmings of the great Norwegian traveler. Periodically the television shows the movies shot by it, continue to be republished written by Round of the book by Heyerdal, helping readers to feel a tart salty smell of the ocean and the wind of wanderings calling in unknown.