Several times, when the sea was calm, the black water round the raft was suddenly full of round heads two or three feet in diameter, lying motionless and staring at us with great glowing eyes. On other nights balls of light three feet and more in diameter would be visible down in the water, flashing at irregular intervals like electric lights turned on for a moment.We gradually grew accustomed to having these subterranean or submarine creatures under the floor, but nevertheless we were just as surprised every time a new species appeared. About two o’clock on a cloudy night, when the man at the helm had difficulty in distinguishing black water from black sky, he caught sight of a faint illumination down in the water which slowly took the shape of a large animal. It was impossible to say whether it was plankton shining on its body or whether the animal itself had a phosphorescent surface, but the glimmer down in the black water gave the ghostly creature obscure, wavering outlines. Sometimes it was roundish, sometimes oval, or triangular, and suddenly it split into two parts which swam to and fro under the raft independently of each other. Finally there were three of these large shining phantoms wandering round in slow circles under us.They were real monsters, for the visible parts alone were some five fathoms long, and we all quickly collected on deck and followed the ghost dance. It went on for hour after hour, following the course of the raft. Mysterious and noiseless, our shining companions kept a good way beneath the surface, mostly on the starboard side where the light was, but often they were right under the raft or appeared on the port side. The glimmer of light on their backs revealed that the beasts were bigger than elephants, but they were not whales, for they never came up to breathe. Were they giant ray fish which changed shape when they turned over on their sides? They took no notice at all if we held the light right down on the surface to lure them up so that we might see what kind of creatures they were. And, like all proper goblins and ghosts, they had sunk into the depths when the dawn began to break.We never got a proper explanation of this nocturnal visit from the three shining monsters, unless the solution was afforded by another visit we received a day and a half later in the full midday sunshine. It was May 24, and we were lying drifting on a leisurely swell in exactly 95°west by 7° south, (p. 90-91).On several occasions we glided past a large dark mass, the size of the floor of a room, that lay motionless under the surface of the water like a hidden reef. It was presumably the giant ray of evil repute, but it never moved, and we never went close enough to make out its shape clearly, (p. 120)
The Norwegian resistance fighter would help prevent the German nuclear program from getting heavy water to make weapons, during Operation Grouse, and be decorated by the British in World War II for his service.
After the war, Haugland joined Thor Heyerdahl’s expedition in 1947 as a radio operator.
Haugland played, of course, himself in the 1950 documentary film Kon-Tiki. The movie, which was directed by Thor Heyerdahl and edited by Olle Nordemar, received the Academy Award for Documentary Feature at the 24th Academy Awards in 1951. The Oscar officially went to Olle Nordemar. It is the only feature film from Norway to win an Academy Award. He would found the Kon-Tiki Museum.
Knut Magne Haugland, 92, the last of six crew members who crossed the Pacific Ocean on board the balsa wood raft Kon-Tiki, died of natural causes on Friday, Christmas Day, 2009, in an Oslo, Sweden, hospital, according to Kon-Tiki Museum Director Maja Bauge.
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