Thus on Christmas Eve 1936, he and his new bride, Liv, set off for a year-long honeymoon on Fatu-Hiva, in the Marquesas chain. On arrival on Fatu-Hiva, Heyerdahl discovered that the natives were suffering from a range of ailments induced by contact with Europeans which included leprosy and elephantiasis.He therefore resolved to live in isolation from them, and for some months he and Liv existed on roots and berries and river prawns, although they soon discovered that the modern stomach struggled with the diet of man's forebears.His father ran a mineral water plant and a brewery while his mother, a keen Darwinist, ran the town museum.
With five friends as crew, Heyerdahl constructed a 60 ft-long raft with sails, its design based on ancient pictures of Indian oceangoing vessels.
The crew supplemented their US Army issue rations with freshly caught shark.
Almost 4,500 nautical miles later, the raft grounded itself on the Raroia reef, and Heyerdahl waded ashore on Tuamotu Island, the southernmost tip of Polynesia.
After a variety of labouring jobs, he eventually made his way to England and joined the Free Norwegian Army, where he was trained as a saboteur and wireless operator, although several aborted missions meant that he never saw action.
After the success of the Kon-Tiki expedition, which in 1951 brought him the Oscar for Best Documentary Film, Heyerdahl set up a museum to house the vessel in Oslo and then concentrated on the archaeological search for further proof of his theories.