Seapeople Tidbit: Kon Tiki

Thor Heyerdahl and companions, Kon-Tiki expedition, 1947.

Thor Heyerdahl and companions, Kon-Tiki expedition, 1947.

Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon-Tiki, the story of his amazing 1947 attempt to drift from South America to Polynesia on a balsa-wood raft, was published in Norway in 1948 and translated into English two years later. It sold millions of copies and was eventually translated into more than sixty languages, including Mongolian and Esperanto. Described by the New York Tribune as, “great as few books in our time are great,” and by the London Sunday Times as, “certain to be one of the classics of the sea”—which it has indeed become—it was praised by Somerset Maugham as both incredible and true. The film, based on footage shot aboard the raft, won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 1951 further catapulting Heyerdahl to worldwide fame.