Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Stamp of the Day: Kon-tiki

It turns out there has been many stamps with Kon-Tiki, and there is a whole web page with them. Here is only one of them.

When I was a kid I read about the 1947 Kon-Tiki trip in Thor Heyerdahl's fascinating book about their travel from South America to Polynesia to prove that ancient people could move far across the oceans long before the Europeans. They used a balsa wood raft, held together only with ropes and built using old techniques and materials. I loved that book, as well as the one about the boat Ra. One Swede was on the original crew, Bengt Danielsson (see the Swedish flag on the stamp?).

Now Thor Heyerdahl's grandson has done the Kon-Tiki trip all over again, but this time with an ever better raft named Tangaroa (which is the Maori God for the Sea). After Thor Heyerdahl's trip he realized that the ancient rafts had center boards that helped them steer the vessel, a big problem for the crew and which caused the original crew to crash on an atoll in Polynesia. This time his son could happily sail the whole way in a more steerable way.There was a Swede on this trip too, and in their blog you can read about how they celebrated Jun 6, the Swedish National Day:

“ I prepared a couple of boxes of Ravioli with a nice glass of wine for lunch”, Anders tells us. “Tall waves make us save the big celebration for Midsummer’s Eve. "

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