28 June 2010

Thor Heyerdahl’s first Pacific adventure

Fatu-Hiva: Back to Nature

This is the story of Thor Heyerdahl’s first Pacific adventure long ago, before World War II. The young Heyerdahl and his equally young bride, Liv, sailed by Tahitian schooner for the lonely jungle island of Fatu Hiva in the Marquesas, French Polynesia. Living off the land they hoped to find the answer to the questions that had been troubling them: is man better or worse off in office and factory than primitive man gathering fruits and fishing in the wilderness?; is man’s flight from nature really ‘progress’?
Their struggle against the climate, mosquitoes and venomous insects, rain, skin disease, local hostility – their hazardous ocean voyages in an open boat, and an idyllic month spent with the last Polynesian cannibal – make a rich and compelling story, and provide an answer to questions which are even more relevant today than they were when the author raised them over 70 years ago.
The period spent by Heyerdahl in Fatu Hiva is also significant because it was there that the ideas were formed, which eventually led to the author’s famous Kon Tiki expedition.
The library has 2 copies of this book (illustrated throughout with numerous b& w photos).
We are posting this blog from Tahiti and about to embark, though on a cruise/cargo ship rather than a schooner, for the Marquesas. If there is internet access on board we’ll post a picture of Fatu Hiva as it is now. If not the next post will be in about fortnight’s time.

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