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Wednesday, 29 April 2020


Available for freelance writing commissions on a variety of subjects including family history, nostalgic Belfast and its famous people, shops, shoppers & shopping, the golden age of Hollywood (esp westerns) and humorous pieces on life's weird and wonderful. Op-eds, columns, non-fiction book reviews too. & @JoeCushnan

I have a portfolio of features, reviews, poetry and short fiction published in all sorts of places - Belfast Telegraph, Tribune, Ireland's Own, Dalhousie Review, Fairlight Books, Reader's Digest, Reality, Lapwing Poetry, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Spillwords, Dear Reader, Amethyst Review, to name a selection.  Oh, and the odd BBC radio contribution. 

This is a series of very, very short items that have nothing to do with the current news agenda.  Swift diversions for a moment or two.

Apropos of Nothing #12 – 29 April 1947 

The Kon-Tiki expedition was a 1947 journey by raft across the Pacific Ocean from South America to the Polynesian islands, led by Norwegian explorer and writer Thor Heyerdahl. The raft was named Kon-Tiki after the Inca god Viracocha whose original name was said to be Kon-Tiki.  29 April 1947 was the raft’s first full day at sea.  Heyerdahl believed that people from South America could have sailed to Polynesia in the days well-before European influences reached the Americas.  He wanted to show that by using only the materials available at the time, there were no technical reasons to prevent them from making the journey.  The expedition came to an end after 101 days when the raft struck a reef about 740 km north of Tahiti.  The journey’s length was just under seven thousand kilometres.  


The crew:

Thor Heyerdahl (1914-2002) - Leader
Herman Watzinger (1910-1986 - Engineer
Erik Hesselberg (1914-1972) – Navigator
Torstein Raaby (1918-1964) – Radio transmissions
Bengt Danielsson (1921-1997 – Supply/rations steward
Knut Haugland (1917-2009) – Radio transmissions

Some Heyerdahl musings:

“For every minute, the future is becoming the past.”

“One learns more from listening than speaking.  And both the wind and the people who continue to live close to nature still have much to tell us which we cannot hear within university walls.”

“Progress is man’s ability to complicate simplicity.”

“If we begin thinking about the world being over 100 million years old, then it’s absolutely by chance that you and I are sitting here alive today, while others are dead or have never been born.”

Sources: Various

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