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Am re-reading my classics. ( Kon-Tiki Expedition.) (Quote)


We had on the foredeck large wicker baskets full of other plants which had left a deep impression on the South Sea
The baskets stood lashed fast in the lee of the cabin wall, and as time passed yellow shoots and green leaves shot up higher and higher from the wickerwork.
It was like a tropical garden on board the wooden raft.

When the first Europeans came to the Pacific Islands, they found large plantings of sweet potatoes on Easter Island , and in Hawaii and New Zealand, and the same potato was also cultivated on the other islands, but only within the Polynesian area. It was quite unknown in the part of the world which lay further west.

The sweet potato was one of the most important cultivated plants in these remote islands where the people otherwise lived mainly on fish, and many of the Polynesians’ legends centred round this plant.

According to tradition it had been brought by no less a personage than Tiki himself, when he came with his wife Pani from their ancestor’s original homeland, where the sweet potato had been an important article of food. New Zealand legends declare that the sweet potato was brought over the sea in vessels which were not canoes, but consisted of ‘wood bound together with ropes.’

(end quote)

Those gardeners really knew their plants, they had to!

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I remember reading Thor Heyerdahl's book. The account of them seeing a sunfish has stuck with me for over 45 yrs. It is a wonderful book.

25 Dec, 2018


Yes SBG I remember them arriving at their destination 45 years ago. Somehow or other I was doing something else at the time, didnt know they were on the way!
The naval experts and Admirals didnt expect them to survive long, but they did.

The book tells us so much about careful planning, controlled behaviour, understanding the creatures of the sea - most of whom got on with their own lifestyles and ignored them.
If we leave wild creatures alone they leave us alone.
The gardening aspect of it interested me this time,
they carried gallons of fresh water to keep the plants moist, replanted them on arrival and they thrived in the new soil.

Makes me wonder how plants grown in Peru settled so easily on South Sea Islands, years of leaf mould I suppose.

26 Dec, 2018


Thor Heyerdahl gives a marvellous description of the construction of the statues on Easter Island. Just like our
Stonehenge, those people really were clever.

27 Dec, 2018


It's a very long time since I read this book, Diane. Did they place fish in cloth and wring them (!) to extract fluid which they drank when water supply grew low? Or am I thinking of another book/voyage?

29 Dec, 2018


Hi Eirlys, they certainly were clever. They caught Dolphins, 9 foot long sharks, Tunnies and Pilot Fish, for food, avoided injury, and had good meals. Dealt with the strong winds very professionally. The one who did the navigation was very good, he knew exactly where they were all the time, they radioed their position every day
to an amateur in Los Angeles, he kept the officials in New York. informed they were safe. The small island where they finally ended up was called Kon Tiki Island afterwards. The raft was taken on the ship which finally took them to Tahiti, to join a liner to take them home.
I wondered if it survived. the Balsa logs were still in good
condition when this happened. I always thought Balsa wood was soft, seems not so. It was the Sweet Potatoes
growing happily on the deck that interested me. They took gallons of fresh water in sealed pipes, had plenty.

31 Dec, 2018

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