Thor Heyerdahl has died
April 18, 2002 9:59 PM   Subscribe

Thor Heyerdahl has died of a brain tumor at the age of 87. The famous Norwegian adventurer is best known for two expeditions that supported his theories on human migration. The Kon Tiki voyage took six people from Peru to Polynesia in a balsawood raft in 101 days. The reed boat Ra II made it from Morocco to Barbados in 57 days. The legends are one thing, but seeing one of the actual vessels in Oslo reinforces how incredible these journeys were.

What incredible adventure would you love to go on?
posted by ludicdruid (12 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I would love to cruise down to the bottom of the Marianas trench or some other underexplored deep water and check out the funky fish.
posted by ludicdruid at 10:27 PM on April 18, 2002

This makes me quite sad. Heyerdahl was a hero of my childhood. He was Indiana Jones before there was an Indiana Jones, before this modern fetishization of adventure.

I think his book Kon-Tiki and I is still somewhere among my books.
posted by vacapinta at 10:54 PM on April 18, 2002

Always sad to see so much life extinguished.
posted by rushmc at 10:56 PM on April 18, 2002

He was bigger than life and had the guts to put his theories into practice. He is gone, but before he died he really lived. Have a good voyage, Thor.
posted by Mack Twain at 11:52 PM on April 18, 2002

It is very sad. The stories of his expeditions were fascinating, and I bet quite a few antropologists have lost a childhood hero.

BTW, Vacapinta, I think you are wrong that adventure is a present day fetish. If anything adventurerers had even more machismo 50 years ago than they have now. Remember that Indiana Jones is a recreation of the hero of the thirties and fourties.
posted by cx at 1:25 AM on April 19, 2002

He was definitely one of my heroes. The fact that he had the cajones to prove his theory always impressed me. Reading Kon-Tiki filled me with awe and brought the mysterious right into the palm of my hand. For those who haven't read any of his work, this is the place to start. You might recapture your childhood.

cx, I agree. Adventurers did things the hard way, through sheer will power and lots of luck. They certainly didn't have GPS, cel phones, mobile computers.

Good winds, Thor.
posted by ashbury at 5:24 AM on April 19, 2002

I read Kon Tiki one summer when I was around 10. I had never known that there were people that vital in the world and they did such things.

We were lucky to have him with us, if only for a short while.
posted by Dagobert at 5:59 AM on April 19, 2002

I have the highest admiration for anyone that takes to the open ocean in a small craft, but take a look at his boats - MAN! They're made of rope, weeds and sticks! Takes a LOT of balls to undertake such a voyage.

Fair winds and following seas, Thor.
posted by groundhog at 9:45 AM on April 19, 2002

And as for my incredible adventure - take a few years and sail the Bahamas and Caribbean. All I need is a few bucks, a sailboat - and sailing lessons.
posted by groundhog at 10:12 AM on April 19, 2002

I bicycled across the U.S. in 1999. A want to do it again someday.
posted by chainring at 2:34 PM on April 19, 2002

Incredible adventures List:


-trans-amazon in rain season by land rover
-kayaking glacier bay, alaska
-mountain biking the salar de uyuni
-mountain biking from trancoso (bahia) to itaunas (espirito santo)-Brazil
-sandboarding in the sahara
visuals here:

wish list:
sled event, iditarod or similar
kayaking around easter island
climbing in antartica
trekking nepal
sandboarding namibia - skeleton coast

earth orbit would be really nice...
posted by ig at 7:55 PM on April 19, 2002

he done leif proud

Farewell! The Snorri has arrived, with Leif and the gods of Valhalla for Heyerdahl's final voyage.

posted by sheauga at 8:01 PM on April 19, 2002

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