A brief illustrated story from the first leg of the
Being Norwegian, I grew up with tales of Thor Heyerdahl's brave Kon-Tiki expedition. On Oct 6 2014, 100 years after Thor Heyerdahl was born, Torgeir Higraff published an article that called for continued exploration on balsawood rafts. The goal of the «Rahiti» expedition, later renamed «Kon-Tiki2», would be to try sail a balsawood raft to Easter Island. And then sail back to to South America.
Fast forward one year to Oct 2 2015, when balsa logs arrive at the SIMA shipyard in Callao, Peru. Volunteers quickly went to work and tied the logs together with natural fibre rope – no nails or screws!
Underneath the raft, we mounted echo sounders.
The Peruvian Navy generously allowed us to use their shipyard, and held a noble ceremony when the two rafts were launched into the ocean.
Expedition Leader Torgeir Higraff carried the Norwegian flag, while Roberto — our man from the Peruvian Navy — handled the Peruvian.
Father Guillermo Oviedo of the Escuela Naval del Peru blessed both rafts.
Before we could leave, we talked to the press, the diplomatic community, and got thumbs up from the Navy.
Also, we needed a few extra days to finalize the rafts and to install electronics.
Thankfully, my brother Harald and his sailor friend Jan Morten came to our rescue.
Our two rafts, with seven crew members each, left Callao on November 7, and set sails for Easter Island.
We quickly learnt how to adjust guara boards up or down to set a course.
We also discovered that this would be a wet journey, with high waves breaking over deck, and sometimes into the cabin.
At sea, we looked for plastics, released drifters, and sent a CTD down to 2046 metres — and winched it back up!
On days when the weather was suitable we launched the Manta trawl.
We caught some fish to eat, and enjoyed oatmeal porridge for breakfast.
We had plenty of peas and beans.
Real Turmat was a treat, as was Baker Hansen bread.
We saw many animals along the way, including frigatebirds, pilot whales, flying fish, and a snake mackerel.
Frigatebirds are not supposed to be found this far out.
We had steady winds all along, often gale force. But the rafts were stable, and the bottle of apple cider was stood still.
One of the stated goals of the Kon-Tiki2 Expedition was to document human reactions to Pacific sunsets.
A raft needs sailors. We had seven good men who remained friends till the end.
Sailors need power for their equipment.
I was responsible for all electrons onboard the raft, and most of them behaved.
Opera's products helped us communicate efficiently.
With the help of satellites, we knew when and where to start looking for Easter Island.
On the morning of December 18 she appeared as a faint shadow on the horizon.
A landmark, in more ways than one.
This is an honorable way of arriving on Easter Island. Epic.
After 43 days at sea, we landed on Easter Island.
The grass felt good. Jackline's party was a treat. Only the statues remained unmoved.