Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Newgrange Currach

Reliable reader Wade Tarzia has added a useful comment to an earlier post about coracles, with a review of the 2012 book, The Boyne Currach by Claidhbh O Gibne. (Please don't ask me to pronounce the author's first name.) The comment worth a read, or you can see Wade's complete review on his blog.

The Boyne currach, a historical type, is being championed by an organization that seems to refer to itself alternately as the Newgrange Currach and the Boyne Currach Heritage Group. They're active in researching the type, building replicas, and campaigning them on the water in surprisingly adventurous and attractive ways, as shown in the slideshow above.

(By the way, in addition to what I would call a currach -- i.e., a "boat-shaped" hide-covered, open-framework boat -- Newgrange Currach is also building what I would call coracles -- i.e., boats that are round in plan -- and apparently calling them currachs too. Not having yet read the book, I'm not clear if there's a technical difference between their round currachs and true coracles, or simply an overlap of terminology.)

They also (naturally) maintain a Facebook page.

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Practicality of the Philippine Banca

Beautiful curves on the sheer and outrigger booms on this Philippine banca. The booms are carefully chosen for their curves from the branches of a native thorn tree. Each side of each boom is a single branch, lashed together where they overlap amidships. (Copied from the Facebook page of Tropical Boats, a cultural tourism company.)
A new comment by Robert La Quey on an old post about Philippine bancas seemed so interesting that I want to highlight it in its own post. Here's his comment:
I can assure you that bangcas are alive and well. If you show any narrow boat to a filipino fisherman he will immediately suggest that you add outriggers and bamboo amas. First and foremost most bangcas are rafts for working t sea and so stability is king. But fast access from the shore to the workplace off shore is essential as well. So the narrow hulls, easily driven by very inexpensive single cylinder pump motors. I have tried and tried but it is damn difficult to design a boat that is a better match to the requirements of the typical Filipino than the bangca.
Flat bottom bangcas built of plywood are emerging. Planing boats, very fast on and off shore. Many variations but all have the classical bangca outrigger setup with bamboo amas.

Photos of our bangcas here
and here

For those of you who don't do Facebook (poor, benighted souls), here's the "About" verbiage concerning Mr. La Quey's business, Tropical Boats:
About  Tropical Boats is for adventuresome tourists. We build boats and arrange tours in our own boats and can provide a wide variety of accomodations, ranging from tents to fine resorts. Create your dream vacation. We make it a reality. 
Mission  Tropical boats uses boat building to introduce tourists to another way of life ... that of the poor but free Filipino fisherman. Our mission is to open minds and hearts to realities not often considered in the developed world. 
Description  During a typical class at Tropical Boats you will build a Filipino bangka (outrigger canoe) during the first week. During the second week you will go fishing in your bangka with a Filipino fisherman. Food and accommodations will be provided as well as weekend entertainment.
This sounds like a fantastic vacation to me. Here's Mr. La Quey's contact info:
Phone: +63 947 949 5887

Copied from Mr. La Quey's Facebook page, I have no  information about this photo, but I love the way these little Philippine folks have their own beautiful little banca.
Macho Tsongo is a 10-meter banca based in Ligtasin Beach, "available for day trips around Matabungkay Bay and Fortune Island," according to its Facebook page, which continues: "We also provide custom tours for overnight camping and fishing around Caltagan Point to Balayan Bay and to areas around Lubang Island."

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Unidentified Indonesian Canoe

I received this query from Arnon Sheige in the Netherlands. Being unable to answer it myself, I'm throwing it open for reader input, with Arnon's permission. Please contribute any ideas via Comments. Thanks.

What can you tell us about this canoe? (Click any image to enlarge.)
Dear Bob 

As a researcher of ancient Indonesia, I would appreciate if you could let me know some details regarding a boat displayed in the Bahari Museum (photo is attached) Jakarta. The Museum Email apparently does not function. 

I am interested in the following:
1. The boat type name. (Generic name?)
2. Area of construction in Indonesian archipelago.
3. What kind of rig/sails does she have?
4. What does the figurehead symbolizes?
5. Type of construction (a dugout + sewn planks elements?) 

All the above is needed for an academic paper regarding the ancient Indonesians mariners. 

Many thanks in advance,

Arnon Sheige 

The Netherlands
The figurehead on the photo from Arnon reminded me of the elaborate carvings on another Indonesian canoe, below. I took these shots a few years ago in the storage area of the Canadian Canoe Museum. Aside from the obvious observations that it's very long, and of straight dugout construction, I have no information about it.