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January 24, 2012

I cannot be certain that this movie will be worth seeing. The factual source material is, however, epic in the truest sense of the word. (Mom read it to me before I was in grade school. Thanks, Mom!) Hit the jump for a concise and informative review of Kon-Tiki, and Thor Heyerdahl’s subsequent adventures covered in The Ra Expeditions.

Thor Heyerdahl’s double achievement of the Kon Tiki and Ra expeditions are nothing short of incredible. In the Kon Tiki he set out to prove how the Pacific Islands had been originally populated. He succeeded. For Ra, he constructed a craft of local papyrus reeds and set out to show how ancient Egyptians reached the Americas thousands of years before Columbus. He succeeded again.

Whilst a plethora of so-called experts scoffed at the very notion – claiming any such craft would simply disintegrate in anything more than a calm sea, Heyerdahl and his 6 man crew set sail from North Africa. After 2,700 miles they were eventually battered into submission by a great storm and had to abandon their craft. Within a year, however, they were back with Ra II and made the crossing from Morocco to Barbados in 57 days. The distance – a mere 3,270 miles. Now we know why Pyramids are also found in Central and Southern America…

Heyerdahl’s achievements rank alongside being the first man on the moon or the first to climb Everest – except that he has two such credits to his name. In this book, his latter adventure is recorded in the most interesting, yet factual way, and is a joy to read.


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