1835: Fijian double canoe with platform and cabin

Lorimer Fison, in his  Tales of Old Fiji, used this undated and unreferenced image, above,  “from an old block” etching of a “Fijian double canoe.”

Construction of the double canoe: Fison wrote “A double canoe is made of two queer-shaped boats, which are fastened together, side by side, with a considerable space between them, by timbers laid across the midship gunwales of both, and lashed thereto with sinnet. Over these timbers the deck is laid, two open spaces being left, fore and aft, in each boat, for bailing.

Method of tacking: The ends are covered in and are considerably lower than the midships. In tacking, a canoe is not hove about like our vessels, and has therefore, strictly speaking, neither stem nor stern that being the stern on one tack which is the stern on the other. And as in tacking the sail is shifted from one end of the canoe to the other, the mast working on a pivot at the foot, the same broadside is always to windward. The boat, then, on the weather side is called thama, and that to leeward the kata.

Paddles: I have spoken of paddles, but they are more like oars or sculls, and, when in use, are held nearly perpendicularly, the blade being let down through holes in the deck. There are paddles also, which are different things, having long, slender handles, and short, broad blades”.

FISON Lorimer, 1832-1907. Tales From Old Fiji. (pp. 89, 100). Alexander Moring Ltd The De La More Press 32 George Street Hanover Square London W 1904 Printed By Ballantyne, Hanson & Co. At The Ballantyne Press http://www.archive.org/details/talesfromoldfiji00fisouoft


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