Voyager Against All Tides

When a young Norwegian named Thor Heyerdahl suggested in the 1940s that ancient South Americans had crossed the Pacific to settle in Polynesia, the academic establishment laughed. "They said balsa logs would sink after two weeks in the ocean," he later recalled, "so of course I had no choice but to prove them wrong." In 1947 Heyerdahl built a balsa-wood raft he dubbed the Kon-Tiki, which carried six men and a parrot 7,000 km from Peru to a crash landing on Raroia Atoll, a voyage of 101 days. His book the following year, The Kon-Tiki Expedition, brimmed with tales of shark...

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