I’ve been working on a story about sailors who are blown off course from their trading mission and “discover” an inhabited island near them. Since the story takes place in the very early history of this world, I spent some time looking into the trading early explorers did via different kinds of canoes.
- Carrying a canoe overland is about as fast as paddling a canoe, just a lot more unpleasant.
- Double-hulled canoes can probably sail pretty close to the wind, but none of the old ones got preserved—we only have pictures left.
- The oldest canoe is Dutch and about 10,000 years old.
- Florida has more old, preserved dugout canoes than anywhere else in the world—more than 400!
- Classifying different types of water transportation conveyances is just as hard as any other clarification system, so I’m honestly not even sure what a canoe is anymore.
It’s likely that the native peoples of Florida submerged canoes in water to help preserve them for later use. Some locations have large concentrations of submerged canoes that are thousands of years old, possibly indicating complex travel networks. Such protected canoes might have helped owners avoid having to carry them. [Read More]
Dugouts are pretty easy to make out of a tree trunk, but almost by definition wind up being pretty long and narrow compared to a raft or more complex ship. Because of their shape, even the best of them tend to be unstable even under expert control in good conditions. This is doubly true when they’re filled with trade goods. [Read More]
Two For Safety
Small craft navigators often had to worry about razor-sharp coral reefs with the power to rip open the bottoms of their boats. Since the reefs were hard to detect except by sudden changes in the color of the water, in shallow water canoes usually had a crewman at the bow in addition to whoever was paddling at the back. [Read More]
Canoes tend to be bigger and heavier than kayaks, but the main difference is that kayaks are enclosed except for the cockpit seating, which makes it possible to roll them without the paddler falling out. Kayaks originated in the Arctic about 4,000 years ago and were made out of driftwood or whalebone with waterproofed animal skins. [Read More]