India Trip: kinda off-topic

Discussion in 'General Paddling Discussions' started by IanC, Nov 25, 2010.

  1. IanC

    IanC Paddler

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    Just returned from a visit to Kerala, India (southwest coast). We got out on the backwaters (tourist houseboat tour) but did not do any paddling. However I saw a few things that may be mildly interesting to some of you.

    At one place I watched the local fishermen doing their thing. They had two types of boats, and I never actually figured out exactly what each was for. One type is a two man sit-on-top, made from three logs lashed together, with the middle log flattened. Before launching, a large net is bundled and lashed in the middle, and then two guys head out into the surf, using split pieces of bamboo as paddles, kayak style. I watched them struggle through the small to moderate surf, broaching, capsizing, getting back on, and finally punching through, paddling hard all the while, accompanied by much yelling from their comrades on the beach. Once out to sea, I believe they set the net, to retrieve later. These boats seemed very heavy - not less than ten guys to carry each one up and down the beach.

    The other boats were big rowboats, with room for maybe twelve guys, with a few sets of crude wooden oars. They seem to do the same thing as the small boats, but they went much further out with the nets, and then hauled them in from shore. These boats were made with wood planks, fitted and stitched together with homemade palm fibre cords, with the seams caulked with some tropical goop, I assume. Maybe a few nails also. All the ropes were also homemade with palm fibres, as were some of the nets. The only modern acoutrements I could see were some nylon filament nets, and the cheap button shirts they all wore.


    The fishermen all seemed to live in small mudbrick and thatch huts, and there were no women around, so I think this is a seasonal thing. They seemed to work awfully hard for a pretty meagre catch of small fish, which they divided up.
     

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  2. Kasey

    Kasey Paddler

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    My my Ian...you sure are getting to see (and feel I think) the world! Love to see any of your exotic posts!!
     
  3. Maddie

    Maddie Paddler

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    That is so neat Ian!

    Can we please see some more pictures?
     
  4. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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    Hi Ian,
    Great pictures, thanks!
    The first one is called a kattumaran and is typically 5 - 10 metres in length and of 5 logs. Used for different types of fishing and propulsion is by paddle, oar or sail. In some of them the side logs are 'L' shaped so that true sides of some sort are fashioned. The ones that you show are really small. Here's one a little larger:

    I don't know what the other one is - maybe need more pictures. But the sewn boat tradition is all over the indian continent - and it is really wild to see it still utilized. Amazing!

    Thanks for these! Many of us like all kinds of boat pics!
     

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  5. Tootsall

    Tootsall Paddler

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    Mick, is that guy in the bow staring at the date floating in the water? :D
     
  6. IanC

    IanC Paddler

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    Mick - you are a fountain of knowledge...! I found it surprising that these little boats were so crude, and I wondered why they are not built with the same stitched plank methods as the bigger boats. They would be a fraction of the weight (I'm guessing that these two-man kattumarans weigh about 400 lbs or more) and much less awkward to manage, both in and out of the water.

    At the risk of straying even further off-topic, (and because of Maddie's request) here are a few more pics from India - at least they are mostly water/boat related...
     

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  7. DarrenM

    DarrenM Paddler

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  8. mbiraman

    mbiraman Paddler

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    India,,,one of my favorite places.
     
  9. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    Very :cool .

    Looks like an interesting place to holiday. How would you describe the quality of life in the areas that you visited?

    *****
     
  10. Kasey

    Kasey Paddler

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    Wow...it's always great Ian to see how different life is in another place. You are a lucky man! And elephants!!
    So cool!