4/29/2007

Boats on Ilha de Moçambique

Ilha is covered with boats. Well, mostly covered with people but there are also many boats. These dugouts are made from a single palm tree, carved out with combined use of fire and a blade. I remember vaguely that the Polynesians used to do it this way as well, but don't quote me on that. Anyway they are brightly painted (either with MCel or Coca Cola logos, how do these corporations get them to do that? Sponsoring the paint?) and make very versatile 1-man sailing or paddling canoes. Conch divers use them and easilly keep one hand on the line while they dive for their prey.

Here is a traditional Barco under construction on the beach. I took a close look at the keel scarf because I knew somebody would be interested. I also spent a good deal of time trying to ask these guys what they used to chink the planking. It turns out to be some kind of fiber- not sure what it was but the closest thing it reminded me of was fiberglass insulation - very fine, matting fibers, only more absorbant. No resemblance to any local materials I could ascertain.

Kiddies playing on a boat which is on the beach for re-caulking (on island time, anyway). Note Vodacom barco in background.

Not a bad place to grow up! These kids are incredibly well-fed and happy compared to everywhere else in Mozambique that I saw - this in spite of the crowding/water/sewage issues on this tiny island.

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