April 29th, 2010, posted by Shore Crew Tags: KonTiki, Olav Heyerdahl

63 years ago today the Kon-Tiki set sail from Peru on a journey that would last 101 days taking them across the South Pacific traveling over 4,300 miles in a bid to explain how the Polynesian islands came to be inhabited by South Americans.

The Kon-Tiki has been a key inspiration for the Plastiki right from the start of the project – you may have noted the similarity in name! The Plastiki is even using the every same trade winds to push our bottle boat through the Pacific Ocean. We are also lucky to have a some of the Kon-Tiki blood on board in the form of Olav, the grandson of the Kon-Tiki expedition leader, Thor Heyerdahl.

Olav with his grandad Thor Heyerdahl

However, one thing that we don’t have in common with our early namesake is the construction materials. Where as we built the Plastiki as a testament to material innovation and the power of waste as a resource, the Kon-Tiki used entirely traditional methods constructing the boat from balsa wood lashed together with hemp rope. We often receive comments on the small living space on board the Plastiki, although this is no doubt a challenge for our crew of 6, the Kon-Tiki shipmates may have faced even more problems as their living space was 14ft long and 8ft wide and built out of plaited bamboo with a banana leaf thatch….open port holes were the least of their worries!

For any of our Norwegian followers we posted up an honorary Norwegian blog from Olav, and if you want to explore more then you can visit the Kon-Tiki Museum.

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  1. Social comments and analytics for this post…

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  2. Michael says:

    Interesting, the missions are different but one thing does emerge is the uslefulness of our resources and turning that which is waste into something that is useful and seeing that lasting effect for generations. It is by the blood that which connects us.

  3. Claudia says:

    Happy Birthday Kon-tiki…We started our journey on the same day ;)
    Wish the best to the Plastiki crew and keep up the great work! You are an inspiration!
    Sending positive vibes….and wind.

    “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

  4. Morten says:

    Every day is a Kon-Tiki day for me, as I would not feel dressed without one of my Eterna Kon-Tiki watches on my wrist, named for the expedition by Thor Heyerdahl. It was a great expedition and will live in infamy!
    Keep up the good work onboard The Plastiki, and thank you from a norwegian for keeping the Kon-Tiki legacy alive :-)