Monday, January 6, 2014

Catching sharks by hand

In a recent post of some of my favorite movie scenes I included a scene from Kon-Tiki, a recent film dramatization of Thor Heyerdahl's successful attempt to build a raft of balsa wood in South America and sail it across the South Pacific. If you haven't read the book, I highly recommend it, it's excellent. Unfortunately, the only video I could find of the scene I wanted had it set to autoplay, so everyone who has been visiting this blog since then was treated to the sounds of a commercial followed by the scene. I just did another search and found the same scene on YouTube, albeit longer (which is a good thing), and have replaced the video in the post. I will try to avoid the siren call of autoplaying videos in the future, and my apologies to everyone who was annoyed by it. Like me.

Incidentally, the scene dramatizes a regular occurrence during the actual Kon-Tiki expedition: when there were sharks in the water, and thus a danger if any of them fell overboard, one of the men would hold a fish out over the edge of the raft. A shark would come up, bite the fish, and then dive. The man would then grab the shark's tail (which Heyerdahl wrote was as rough as sandpaper) and pull the shark up onto the raft, and then run to the other side of the raft while it flopped around until it died. They regularly cleared the water of sharks in this way, and there's a series of pictures in the book of Thor Heyerdahl catching a shark with his bare hands. It's pretty amazing.

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