They are 10-seat rowing canoes with flared sides and elaborate carving / painting. Oh, and the ends are upturned… kinda like a J-boat is deep draft! Geez – they are like 6-8 feet above the waterline! They are beautiful, but wow, you’d hate to have to go anywhere but downwind in any breeze. They will, of course help take an oncoming wave, but I suspect their real value is as a canvas for that amazing artwork. And, to be clear, we very much back this, windage and all. What bold, spectacular lines.
The launch is pretty interesting in it’s own right. Read the Caro’s Choice post for the whole story. There is wonderful detail and background information on the island.
Suffice it to say that it is a community affair with much food and ceremony, exactly how a launching should be. Some excerpts:
The Tao believe boats possess a soul. That’s why before it can be launched, spirits need to be pacified; and evil spirits scared away, or exorcised…
…After two days of ceremonial ritual, there’s applause and loud cheers as the boat is put out to sea. It will sail and return to the shore several times….
…The boat launch is a powerful reminder that despite worries about the island’s future, traditional ceremonies can still powerfully unite islanders and make them feel proud about their rich culture…
Thanks, Caro’s Choice, for introducing us to these lovely boats and great culture.