The Kon-Tiki2 Expedition has received many greetings along the way from planning, building, sailing, to resue and home-coming. On this page, we publish some of them.
Greetings from the Ambassador
By Hege Araldsen, Norway's ambassdor to Chile
Dear members of the Kon Tiki 2 expedition.
Congratulations again on fulfilling your expedition. For me, it was an honor to
greet you before you sailed off from Peru. At the embassy we very much welcomed
the opportunity and at times challenge, to assist you. When the grand final of
the expedition turned out more dramatic and less festive than what we all hoped
for, it was a true relief to know that you were in the professional hands of
the Chilean Navy. On May 24 I therefore met with Admiral Larrañaga, to
personally express my most sincere gratitude for the Navy's
professionality throughout the rescue operation. Now, we look forward to all of
the research equipment being returned to Norway so that as much of the research
data as possible may come to use and hopefully serve to contribute to our
improved understanding of changes in marine life relate to climate change and
All in all, I hope each and every one of you will look back on your
participation in this scientifically innovative adventure with great pride.
Dear Torgeir and all the crew members of Kon-Tiki2
By Beate Bjørge, Managing Director, The Thor Heyerdahl Institute
On behalf of The Thor Heyerdahl Institute we would like to thank you for your participation and send you our warmest congratulations! We hope you are all well and enjoying life wherever you are now, whether in Norway or abroad.
We extend our particular thanks to the expedition leader, Torgeir, for having had the courage and enthusiasm to become involved in such an exciting project! The Kon-Tiki II expedition with two balsa rafts and two teams was complex, and you and the crew members are the only ones who know exactly what you experienced. We hope you are able to use your post-expedition reflections in a meaningful way. You have all been part of a unique expedition, and we would like to encourage you to draw on this experience in the future.
As one of the main sponsors of Kon-Tiki II, The Thor Heyerdahl Institute feels its purpose has been enhanced by this expedition. The Institute serves to honour the memory of Thor Heyerdahl and continue new projects within the following areas: Interdisciplinary Research, International Dialogue and Protection of the Global Environment.
Thor Heyerdahl was undoubtedly controversial, particularly in academic circles. Was he correct, or were his theories about how the Pacific Islands were populated inaccurate? This question has engaged people from the post-war period right up to today. There has been considerable discussion over the years about the scientific basis for Heyerdahl’s hypothesis: ‘The Pacific Islands could have been populated by people setting out on rafts from the coast of South America’.
The Kon-Tiki Museum and The Thor Heyerdahl Institute embarked on an initiative in 2014 to publish the book and academic papers: ‘Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon-Tiki in a New Light’ on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Thor Heyerdahl’s birth. A mixed group of scholars, engaged in subjects ranging from anthropology and archaeology to marine biology and DNA research, collaborated in a true multidisciplinary spirit in order to shed light on Heyerdahl’s work about the origins of the Polynesian peoples. The results of their work present Thor Heyerdahl’s theories on the colonisation of the Pacific in a completely new light. If any of you are interested in reading this book, please send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send it to you.
The Thor Heyerdahl Institute is proud to share the recent research carried out by way of the Kon-Tiki II expedition and to learn more about pre-historic balsa rafts and the comprehensive teamwork necessary to make these adventures possible. We hope the material from the expedition will provide more inspiration to all those around the world who are interested in Thor Heyerdahl and his work.
Thanks to the Expedition and the crew
By Roman Thomassin, CEO of 3A Composites Core Materials, producer
and manufacturer of the AirexBaltekBanova products
We are very proud to have provided the best balsa logs to build the rafts that
made the Kon-Tiki2 expedition happen, and we would like to thank the crew for
having brought us this amazing adventure and science journey. Unfortunately, we
cannot control weather conditions and there is no question that safety always
comes first. However, the goal of the expedition has been to show that balsa
rafts can sail from South America to Easter Island, and back, and they proved
it. It has been a great privilege to become part of this achievement.
Dear Torgeir and all crew members of Kon-Tiki 2
By Erik Thorsby, Professor emeritus, Dept. of Immunology, University of Oslo
First of all my congratulations! For the first time you showed that it is possible to sail by a copy of an ancient Native American raft from South America directly to Easter Island. This in itself is a great achievement. In addition it gives further support to contacts between Eastern Polynesia and South America in pre-historic time.
As you know our own genomic studies strongly suggest an early contribution of Native Americans to Easter Island (1), where they may have arrived as early as approx. AD 1280-1495 (2). We donÃ¢ÂÂt know how Native Americans reached Easter Island, whether it was by sailing on their Kon-Tiki like rafts directly from South America to Polynesia, or whether some Polynesians sailed further east reaching South America, but returned to Polynesia/Easter Island, also taking some Native Americans with them. In the latter case the boat trip was most probably performed by Polynesian double canoes.
In 1956, the French adventurer ÃÂric de Bisschop tried to sail from Tahiti to Chile in a Polynesian raft, but he also failed to reach Chile. I know of no others who have succeeded with copies of an ancient boat.
As I understand it the reason you could not make Chile was the very unfortunate wind conditions. I came across a paper from 2014 which discuss the very variable wind conditions in the Pacific in pre-historic time. The authors suggest that there were very good wind conditions for off wind sailing from Eastern Polynesia to Chile around AD 1260-1290. I have later been corresponding with the first author (Ian Goodwin) who says that also later in the 1300s the climate patterns were often favorable for off wind sailing from Easter Island to South America, and in the opposite direction from 1430 to 1460. The possibility of off-wind sailing may be more important than generally appreciated since the double canoes used by Polynesians before about AD 1500 may not have had a fixed mast, making sailing against the wind difficult (see refs 10-12 in ref 3).
So, put together, in several periods in early pre-historic time the wind conditions for sailing from Easter Island to Chile were probably much more favorable than you experienced. In other words, the fact that you did not quite make the return to Chile does not at all prove that Polynesians could not have made it in pre-historic time.
(1) Thorsby E (2012). Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B Biol. 367:812-819
(2) Moreno-Mayar V et al. (2014). Curr. Biol. 24: 2518-2525
(3) Goodwin ID et al. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 111: 14716-14721
Dear Kon Tiki 2 crew!
By Nadia Artemieva, Moscow, Russia
I have been following your journey closely over the past four months,
being the volunteer translator of news and blog posts posted on Kon
Tiki 2 website for its Russian version and the Russian-language group
on Facebook. I would start every day by refreshing kontiki2.com, even
on the day my younger daughter Anna was born, which was also Christmas
Day, and you were safely parked on Rapa Nui. I would have named her
Rahiti, but my husband had certain objections (even though he is a fan
It's been a great honor to get to know you â a team of titans, of
superhumans, of those who dare. I know for sure that you have inspired
a huge circle of people out there, and this circle of those affected
by Kon Tiki 2 will keep growing with every article you publish and
every speech you deliver in each of participants' home countries.
I cried on the day I learned that it was all over, and I can only
imagine what a tough decision it was to abandon the rafts half-way to
South America. I admire your courage and leadership, your ability to
see the signs and accept the truth, your commitment to the people you
were put in charge of.
Please let there be a Kon Tiki 3, as some of us aren't just fans, we
are addicts by now. I already miss Torgeir's progress reports, Lisa's
cooking notes, Pedro's popular science, Dr. Sergey's long and
passionate bedtime stories, pictures of Liv reading, fish being
caught, decks being repaired, all the bearded men and Captain Signe's
amazing smile. If there is a book in the works (and if not, Rasmus
should start writing one right away, he is so much fun), I would be
happy to translate it into Russian. You are also all totally invited
to our home for a good piece of steak (and a lentil burger for Signe),
just drop me a note when you are on your way to Moscow :-)
Kind regards and a big Thank you for being such and amazing group of people,
Gratulerer med dagen, TH#2!
For Torgeir Higraff, on his 43rd birthday, by P. J. Capelotti
(2015-11-25) Despite instantaneous global communications and all of the impatience they have
spawned, many explorers still yearn to understand the slow mechanisms by which
ancient people created the original global economy. For them, it is no shock that we
of the modern world did not invent worldwide trade networks. They understand that we
have merely accelerated connections that were created by transoceanic explorers
thousands of years ago. The moment Kon-Tiki reached Polynesia successfully, all of
the world's oceans, especially the Pacific, became archaeological seas, where people
could explore not just the present and the future, but the remote past of our
distant ancestors. Inside the global oceanic laboratory Thor Heyerdahl created,
Torgeir Higraff seeks nothing less than to understand the paths of human global
exploration. The sailor tacks against the wind, the drifter must of necessity
journey wherever the wind blows. One fights nature, one submits to it. The sailor is
heroic, the drifter, romantic. Even though the drifter often raises sail, he does so
only with the wind directly – or very nearly so – at his back. This is not in any way to
suggest that one can drift on a balsa raft knowing nothing about the rudiments of
sailing. It is merely to propose that we still know how to sail, in a systematic
way, because sailboats are still in use all over the world. On the other hand, it is
very likely that no one had attempted a transoceanic voyage on a raft for at least
several hundred years prior to the Kon-Tiki expedition in 1947. Now, after the
expeditions of Thor Heyerdahl and Torgeir Higraff, we are close to understanding how
such craft were navigated in prehistory.
Gratulerer med dagen, TH#2!