Monday, August 30, 2010

Northern California Dugout

No matter where I go, I find myself drawn towards boats.
For obvious reasons, I find small rowing craft particularly interesting.
And if I know you, my friends who share my obsession to one degree or another, I think you'll find this boat at least mildly interesting too.

Most folks these days think of Native American watercraft, and the classic canoe comes to mind, but a number of boat types can be found in the pre-Columbian history of North America. In the redwood region of California, many of the indigenous people crafted and paddled "dugouts".

A "dugout canoe" is also known in some parts as a "log boat" because it is hewn from a single log.

Before metal tools were introduced to the region, stone tools were used, and sometimes boatbuilders relied on fire to clear out areas of the log so they could create a bouyant vessel.

Dugout canoes certainly aren't a local phenomenon, in fact examples of the dugout approach to boatbuilding can be found all over the world.

Some of the oldest boats in the world, still available for viewing in museums, are dugouts. Because they are fashioned out of a single piece of wood, they tend to preserve better than skinboats and boats planked together or made of bark.

The above photo is of an ancient dugout, which was once used to travel the waters of the Northern California. I wonder if the guys who made it had any idea it would still be around today.

I haven't had the chance to row one fo these boats yet, but if I get the opportunity, you'll surely hear about it.

1 comment:

Tamás said...

This kind of boat was also made here in Hungary. Carved out of a single log with steel and fire, they are called "bo:do:nhajo".

Some are almost the size of a gondola, 12 meters long, 1.5 meters wide, but weighing some 2 tons. Must have been an effort to propel it with oars.

Three years ago divers found no less than 27 such boats in a row at the bottom of river Drava, the largest find in Europe. They formerly supported a floating bridge, which was sunk in ottoman wars circa 1600.

Considering the amount of find, it would be impossible to store properly on the surface, so they were left in place underwater.

Supposedly when a log boat is raised, it has to be kept in a mixture of water and sugar syrup to prevent it from rotting.

Why this method is not as efficient if one wants to prevent his/her teeth from decay...