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Humanity’s Vessel: a new project that is as exciting as it is envy-inducing

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s. (Exodus 20:17)

So that final phrase is fairly open-ended, but is thy neighbor’s Watson Fellowship covered? Because if it is, we’re screwed. We say this after receiving an email this week from a visitor named Will Meadows. Mr. Meadows has recently graduated from university here in the U.S. and succeeded in winning the prestigious fellowship, which grants $25,000 for “a year of independent, purposeful exploration and travel — in international settings new to them — to enhance their capacity for resourcefulness, imagination, openness, and leadership and to foster their humane and effective participation in the world community.” And what will Mr. Meadows do with this gift? Here is where the envy part comes in. Dugout canoes at Tiwai Island, Sierra Leone He writes: “Traveling for a year non-stop as a Watson Fellow I will build and study traditional canoes on every continent (besides Antarctica).” No one told us we could do that when we were 21! We want a do-over!

In all seriousness, this is an amazing project and we truly commend Mr. Meadows for winning the fellowship and choosing this incredible topic. To be clear, we’d support almost any permutation of this project, but the particular itinerary / boat selection is a great mix. Meadows is covering many major styles and building materials, so the results will allow a great study of strengths and weaknesses as well as unique factors in the evolution of different boat types. In his words:

The global journey begins on lake Titicaca on the border of Peru and Bolivia where at 12500 feet beautiful reed canoes are made throughout the lake. The native peoples of Titicaca live on floating islands of the same reed harvested in the lake ecosystem a. From there, I build in Zanzibar with the dugout builders of the island, traveling into mainland Tanzania and Uganda as well. After a brief stay in the United Arab Emirates with a palm frond boat builder, I work with Maori war canoe builders on the North Island of New Zealand. Canada calls next in the spring with the intricate birch bark canoes of the north woods. The year ends with a summer building traditional Kayaks in Norway and a stay on the Mekong in northern Laos.

We are, of course, eager to stay in touch with the project. You can too – Mr. Meadows is writing about his travels and sharing his knowledge at the Humanity’s Vessel blog. It’s on our RSS reader and should be on yours too. Please join me in wishing Godspeed to Mr. Meadows!

’round the blogs – great stuff from elsewhere in the traditional boat blogosphere

It has been far too long (we do I always find myself starting this way? SIGH) since we here at Chine bLog highlighted the great posts others have offered the world regarding wooden / traditional boats. Yes, believe it or not, Chine bLog is NOT the only source. Really. It’s true. If you haven’t discovered it already, you should be sure to read the stuff below:

Indigenous Boats
Bob Holtzman over at Indigenous Boats has been putting out a ton of great stuff of late, such that I can’t come close to mentioning it all. Some highlights I’d recommend:

Gavin at intheboatshed has kept his blog going strong. Check out: Continue reading ’round the blogs – great stuff from elsewhere in the traditional boat blogosphere »

Hope you like the updates I made to Chine bLog recently

If you have visited Chine bLog recently you will hopefully have noticed some subtle updates. I moved the navigation bar down to an easier to find spot to help your access to some of what I think is our best stuff. I also updated the section devoted to the major projects I have completed and/or am working on. In particular, there are now better sections for the current project, the skin-on-frame outrigger canoe AL DEMANY CHIMAN, the building of the Peace Canoe PIECE OF THE PUZZLE, and my designs and sketches. I hope you will check these out if you haven’t yet.

I also added a new section for examples of and discussion on the Fusion of Tradition design philosophy that I want to promote. Check into that regularly as well.

Finally, I improved access to the Contact Me form. By all means, reach out! Happy 2011 to you all!

More on Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival 2010… and AL DEMANY CHIMAN

Skin -on-frame outrigger canoe AL DEMANY CHIMAN with me at the helm
Our friend Tom over at 70.8 took a nice set of pictures at the Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival, including this one of yours truly at the helm of AL DEMANY CHIMAN. We actually met face-to-face for the first time, which was a hoot. You get a good feel for some of the other nice boats there.

Catching up with the traditional boat blogosphere – recent stuff from some peers

I have so engaged in designing and building that I haven’t been on the computer as much in the PMs. I have clearly been missing out on what some of our traditional boat peeps have been putting up. In case you missed it directly, here is some stuff to check out:

Indigenous Boats
Bob over at Indigenous Boats always has great stuff. No falling off as we checked in.

Tom at 70.8 has a few really nice posts: Continue reading Catching up with the traditional boat blogosphere – recent stuff from some peers »

Thanks to all our readers!

We have just finished, after much delay, the import of all the comments from the old version of Chine bLog into the new one. A lot of busy work, but we think it is well worth it. Our readers have contributed some great insight over the years and added greatly to what we are doing. Thank you so much for stopping by, reading Chine bLog, and, as you have been moved, leaving your own thoughts and opinions. Here’s to fair winds and following seas to all in 2010!

WoodenBoat adds a blog: My Wooden Boat of the Week

Congrats to our friends at WoodenBoat, publisher Carl Cramer in particular, for launching the new blog My Wooden Boat of the Week. It looks like it is what it sounds like. This week’s entry is on training boats used in New Zealand. Interesting little boats. We’ll keep an eye on this blog to see what else Carl puts out there. Welcome!

Welcome to two nice new blogs from Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum

Our friends over at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum have been busy. They have launched two new blogs to highlight the activity on their working waterfront. The Apprentice for a Day blog highlights that program, in which we at Chine bLog have been proud and happy participants. There are some pictures of the building, but mostly there are detailed descriptions of class activities, such as this one on planking a Melonseed skiff. Apprentice for a Day (AFAD) director Dan Sutherland has some deep knowledge to share and there are good nuggets in here.

You can then hop over to the On the Railway blog for happenings with the museum’s fleet of historic working watercraft. Boatyard director Marc Barto and his crew keep 100+ year-old boats, many of them big, solid boats with a ton of hard work on their timbers, available for ongoing appreciation. After looking at the small AFAD boats, the scale of these working craft is daunting.

Great to have these new blogs available!

Break out the champaign bottle – Chine bLog has relaunched!

The new site blog has been up for a week or so while we got things straightened out (call it “sea trials”), but we are no ready to call the site relaunched! [Ka-shiiiinnggggg! Sploooosshhhh!] I now rechristen thee “Chine bLog.” We have tried to update the graphic appearance of the site and will be adding new features going forward. Enjoy!

On the continuing issues front, you will still find a number of broken links (fixing in progress), many missing comments (ditto), and a dearth of points of the Traditional Boats of the World map (hope to get to this soon). I also need to figure out links to old pages and set up redirects. If you are aware of a link you made to one of our old pages and care to update it to the new URL, that would be much appreciated.

As always, comments are most welcome.

Chine bLog’s favorite RSS feeds – read what we are reading

You know it has happened… you are browsing the web, finding the usual junk, and it hits you… you need to know what Chine bLog reads. We consume much of our info via RSS feeds, so let us make it easy for you to check out what we check out. In the new and improved version, this feature gets its own page.