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The World of Danescombe (Moderated)
Re: ABORA III. 'Prehistoric Reed Boat '
Aug 13, 2007 3:09 PM
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The World of Danescombe (Moderated)
I have been following this thread for a while now, and I have found it to be very interesting. Prehistoric reed boat expeditions and experiments have been an interest of mine ever since a high school history teacher introduced me to the theories of isolationism and diffusionism and the expeditions of Thor Heyerdahl almost thirty years ago.
Over the the last dozen years, there has been a virtual flood of disiples of Thor Heyerdahl sailing Aymara built reed boats on various expeditions.
Like Thor Heyerdahl, American explorer Gene Savoy had an intense interest in the prehistoric civilizations of Peru. Rather than reaching across the Pacific from South America, Savoy was convinced that the Andean empire of the Incas and the Mexican empire of the Aztecs had had regular contact along the western coasts of South and Central America. In 1961, Savoy “observed a petroglyph etched on a rock in the Jequetepeque Valley of northern Peru. It was a Mexican hieroglyph for gold” (Savoy 1974, 17). Observing this and other similarities, Savoy concluded that a regular prehistoric trade had clearly existed between the two culture areas, and that that trade was conducted over the water. To demonstrate his belief, Savoy set out in the spring of 1969 to build a double-hull ship of totora reed and sail it from Peru to Mexico. Savoy named his proposed vessel Kuviqu, his own contraction of the names of Viracocha, Quetzalcoatl, and the Maya figure Kukulcan. The Kuviqu, or Feathered Serpent, as it was more often referred to, took shape at a dockyard in the small fishing village of Huanchaco. The final fitting out of the Feathered Serpent took place at a naval dockyard at Salaverry, eighteen miles south of Huanchaco. The twin hulls were attached to the decking, and the cabin built and the double mast stepped.
On April 15, 1969 crew members settled into the Feathered Serpent as it was towed to sea and let go. The raft was taken by the Peruvian Current and carried northward. After nine days at sea and two ashore, the raft drifted into the port of Talara, some 350 miles north of its starting point at Salaverry. There Savoy was accused of trying to transport antiquities out of Peru. The raft was detained briefly, then sailed out of Peru and into Ecuadorian waters. On May 6, 1969, the raft was towed into Manta where Savoy requested that the raft be lifted out of the water so he could inspect the wear on the totora reed. Then the Feathered Serpent was accidentally dropped from fifteen feet in the air. The shock of impact broke the vessel’s back, canted the deckhouse, and collapsed the double mast. In no position to repair the damage at this stage of the expedition, Savoy transformed what had been a sailing reed boat into a true drifting cargo raft.
The expedition returned to sea on May 14, drifting northward toward the equator. The Feathered Serpent began a meandering drift northward in search of the current that would sweep it across the Gulf of Panama. The current picked up the battered reed raft on June 14, and propelled it northward. Savoy anchored his reed boat for the last time, in Panama Bay. Savoy himself went off for a month of exploring Maya ruins, and when he returned, he discovered that a storm had blown his raft to sea. He never saw his Feathered Serpent again. At one point, all Savoy’s cameras on board were subsequently waterlogged, destroying his visual record of the expedition.
RA I Reed Ship (1m) L: 45 (13.7m). Hull: papyrus reed Comp: 8 Des: traditional Built: Thor Heyerdahl, Safi, Morocco; 1970.
Intrigued by the strong resemblance between various aspects of ancient Egyptian and pre-Columbian culture, Thor Heyerdahl set out to demonstrate that the sources of New World technology and belief could have come from across the Atlantic. A crucial point of similarity was the design of reed boats shown in Egyptian tombs and found on Lake Chad, the Andean Lake Titicaca, Easter Island, and Polynesia to which he had sailed in the balsa raft Kon-Tiki in 1947 across the Pacific. Heyerdahl hired Chadian reed boat builder Abdullah Djibrine and two Buruma colleagues to build a kaday from papyrus cut on Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile in Ethiopia. The design was worked out in consultation between Djibrine and Björn Langström, a Swedish authority on ancient Egyptian boat design.
The finished Ra—named for the Egyptian sun god—made entirely of papyrus and rope was taken by truck and ship to the Moroccan port of Safi where she was launched. The polyglot crew consisted of Heyerdahl, Djibrine, Yuri Alexandrovich Senkevich (Soviet Union), Norman Baker (United States), Carlo Mauri (Italy), Santiago Genoves (Mexico), and Georges Sourial (Egypt). Provisions for the voyage were carried in 160 amphorae made according to a 5,000-year-old example in the Cairo Museum. The voyage began on May 25, 1969. Although Ra made it most of the way across the Atlantic, covering about 60 miles a day (2.5 knots), the crew were forced to abandon Ra near Barbados, because much of the stern had sagged and the raft was breaking up.
RA II Reed Ship (1m) L/B/D: 39 × 16 × 6 (11.9m × 4.9m × 1.8m). Hull: papyrus reed Comp: 8 Des: traditional Built: Thor Heyerdahl, Safi, Morocco; 1970.
Convinced only that he had chosen the wrong design, Heyerdahl arranged to build Ra II, a Moroccan madia whose design more closely resembled that of the reed rafts on Lake Titicaca. Four Aymara reed builders from Bolivia were brought to Morocco for the project, which again used reeds from Lake Tana. Though 20 feet shorter than Ra I, Ra II carried eight crew, Madanni Ait Ouhanni (Morocco) and Kei Ohara (Japan) sailing in place of Djibrine. The second attempt, setting out on May 17, 1970, was a success, the voyage from Morocco to Barbados being completed in only 57 days.
Named for the Mesopotamian river along whose course the Sumerian civilization flourished about 3000 BCE, Tigris was built by Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl, who intended to prove that Sumerians and their contemporaries could have navigated such craft over long distances. Heyerdahl had made previous similar investigations in Kon-Tiki and Ra II. Modeled on early renderings of seagoing craft from the Persian Gulf and Egypt, Tigris was built by so-called Marsh Arabs of Iraq's Shatt al-Arab, who bundled the reeds, and Aymara Indians from Lake Titicaca, Peru, who turned the reed bundles into "a sickle-shaped ship that would neither capsize nor lose its shape in the ocean waves." She carried a single mast from which were set two square sails.
Launched in November 1977, and flying the flag of the United Nations, Tigris had difficulty navigating through the Persian Gulf owing to unseasonably adverse winds and the tremendous amount of tanker traffic and offshore oil wells that had to be avoided. The first port of call was the island country of Bahrain, which many archaeologists have identified as Dilmun, the great seaport of the Gilgamesh epic. From there she sailed south and east out of the Strait of Hormuz before heading west along the coast of Oman. Landing at Muscat, the Tigris crew were among the first westerners to visit the remains of the ancient copper mining center at Shohar. After heading for Africa, a change in the wind enabled them to sail for Pakistan's Indus Valley, the site of an ancient civilization centered on Mohenjo Daro and Harappa that evidently traded with Sumer. From there they sailed west until they passed through the Bab al-Mandeb at the mouth of the Red Sea and on to Djibouti, where they arrived in March 1978. At Djibouti, on April 3, 1978, they burned Tigris to protest the conflicts that had prevented them from landing in North or South Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula, or in war-torn Somalia or Ethiopia. Their five-month, 4,200-mile voyage through the Persian Gulf and across the Indian Ocean had proven both the navigability and the extreme seaworthiness of such reed craft and "shown that the ancient people in Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley and Egypt could have built man's earliest civilizations through the benefit of mutual contact with the primitive vessels at their disposal five thousand years ago."
URU Reed Ship (1m) L: 65.7 (17m). Hull: totora reed Comp: 5 Des: traditional Built: Kitín Muñoz, Lima, Peru; 1988.
Thor Heyerdahl’s American Indians in the Pacific (1952) compiled a sizable mountain of evidence that pointed toward the possibility that pre-Incan mariners in reed boats had once attempted to cross the Pacific Ocean from South America to the islands of Polynesia. Not until thirty years later, however, with his Tigris expeditions, did Heyerdahl learn exactly how long a reed ship, constructed from properly harvested reeds, could stay afloat. Beginning in the late 1980s, a new generation of expeditions sought to use this knowledge to test the limits of the reed boat on experimental voyages from South America into the Pacific. In 1988, a Spanish explorer named Kitin Muñoz, who has referred to himself as the “spiritual son of Thor Heyerdahl” (Reuters, April 27, 1997) set out to build a reed boat and drift all the way to Tahiti on it. The Uru was similar in size to Ra II but constructed of totora reeds instead of papyrus. It was built by the same reed-boat builder, Paulino Esteban, who along with other Aymara Indians had built Heyerdahl’s successful transatlantic reed vessel.
On June 29, 1988, Muñoz set out from Lima, Peru, and in seven weeks crossed the eastern Pacific to a landing in the Marquesas. Muñoz had every intention of continuing his voyage to Tahiti, but a severe storm set the reed boat adrift until its rescue by a Tahitian fishing vessel in October. Muñoz and his crew were brought ashore, and the expedition ended on October 16, 1988. He had shown that a reed vessel could in fact survive the nearly two-month voyage from South America to the nearest islands of Polynesia.
While Heyerdahl was involved in the excavations of the coastal pyramid complex of Tucumé in Peru beginning in 1987, several explorers approached him for advice and assistance in getting their drift expeditions under way. One of these was a German film crew who sought to sail a reed ship from a port in northern Peru to the Galapagos Islands. They would thereby provide an experimental linkage between pre-Incan cultures of the coast of South America and the pre-Incan pottery shards found in the Galapagos by Heyerdahl and Arne SkjolsvoId during an expedition to the archipelago in January 1953.
Paulino Esteban, who had helped to build Heyerdahl’s Ra II and Tigris, and Muñoz’s Uru, arrived in the Peruvian fishing village of Pimentel to construct the Chimok from totora reeds. Heyerdahl suggested to the film crew that they try to build a double-stern reed boat, one that was of Moche design.
The Chimok, with its dragon heads rising from the double stern, was launched from the beach at Pimentel in front of a large crowd, with Heyerdahl doing the honors of christening the huge vessel. Almost immediately, the Germans, along with Esteban and a local Peruvian fisherman, sailed into a storm, but not one of nature’s creation. As the reed ship floated perfectly atop the waves, the crew received word that tensions along Peru’s border with Ecuador had escalated almost to the point of war. The Ecuadorian government insisted that the Chimok sail into the port of Guayaquil and obtain proper clearance papers before attempting to sail for the Ecuadorian-controlled Galapagos.
In film of the voyage, a narrator relates that the Ecuadorian government threatened to send a warship after the reed boat if it did not turn around. The crew speculated that the Ecuadorian government resented the Chimok expedition specifically because Heyerdahl had harvested the balsa logs for Kon-Tiki in Ecuador yet sailed from Peru. As Heyerdahl’s archaeological teams were unearthing evidence of a direct connection between the birdman cult on Easter Island and the Lambayeque culture dated to roughly 1100 C.E.. in pre-Incan Peru, the reed boat Chimok was being abandoned in Peruvian waters because of the war, and allowed to drift on alone into the Humboldt Current. No satellite tracking of the Chimok was apparently possible before it was abandoned, so it is not known for how long nor how far the reeds drifted before they became waterlogged and sank.
Heyerdahl, PYRAMIDS OF TECUMÉ: THE QUEST FOR PERU’S FORGOTTEN CITY
The progress of modern archeological research in the Mediterranean and Atlantic region has resulted in a new theory of cultural development of mankind. New discoveries on the larger Mediterranean and Canary islands have indicated that early cultural centers had contact with each other over thousands of miles of the sea. But these claims can not be proven by archeological discoveries only. These claims need experimental proof, which shows that our ancients did possess the technology to build steerable vessels 6000 years ago. Such vessels should have been able to navigate in sufficient distance to the coast line across the wind.
The first part of the journey was going from Alghero along the northern coast of Sardinia. After two stopovers in Castelsardo and Santa Teresa, Abora I reached Bonifacio on the southern corner of Corsica. From there the crew sailed on to Bastia (northern Corsica). A strong current with southern direction forced the crew to sail very close to the coast, to be ready for a fast anchoring, in the case of slow wind. The last part of the expedition was going to Elba and then to Piombino, where the expedition ends.
On May 17th 2002 ABORA 2 started with an international crew from Alexandria (Egypt), sailing a back and forth journey across the Mediterranean Sea. The route was from Alexandria to Beirut, then to Cyprus, and then back to Alexandria for a total distance of approximately 2150 kilometers (1100 nautical miles) within 61 days.
The main aim of the expedition was to demonstrate the full sailing capabilities of prehistoric vessels. Consequently all Mediterranean civilizations could be within regular contact of each other by sea. The practical proof of this navigational performance would supply new evidences for the importance of the prehistoric navigation in the development of the first civilizations in the Old World.
The boat was built in Bolivia and shipped over to Europe where it was rebuilt for the launch in Alexandria. With a crew of nine, including nationals from Germany, Egypt, Norway and Bolivia, Goerlitz and his team aim to prove that people from Asia Minor, before the age of Phoenicians, managed to conquer the seas and that these people reached Atlantic territories around 3000BC.
Following in the footsteps of Norwegian scientist Thor Heyerdahl, Goerlitz hopes to prove the links between prehistoric communities in Asia Minor and the Americas. Heyerdahl used models of Pharaonic boats to build two papyrus crafts, the Ra II and the Tigris, which succeeded in crossing the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean respectively. His expeditions called into question the notion that Columbus was the first transatlantic navigator and demonstrated how the ancient Sumerians could have traveled widely.
Goerlitz wanted to take the studies a step further and open possibilities of Mediterranean civilizations having influence on the New World. This was not possible under Heyerdahl's expedition because he had sailed with the currents, being unable to maneuver his boat against the wind.
Görlitz, SCHILFBOOT ABORA
VIRACOCHA I Reed Ship (1m) L/B: 64 × 16 (19.5m × 4.9m). Hull: totora reed Comp: 8 Des: traditional Built: Phil Buck, Arica, Chile; 2000.
The Viracocha Expedition is an educational, humanitarian, and ethnographic adventure - a primitive reed ship voyage around the globe. This expedition is significant because it will demonstrate the possibility of ancient migration and trade routes thought to be impossible by conventional wisdom.
There exists archaeological, linguistic and botanical evidence that these routes were indeed traveled, yet modern scholars deny the possibility that these primitive ships could endure such distance. The Viracocha Expedition will unveil the potential for ancient peoples to have traveled across oceans and to the most remote places on earth. The team has already completed one monumental voyage of nearly 2,500 miles from Chile to Easter Island. Our next expedition will take us over 10,000 miles from Chile to Australia.
VIRACOCHA II Reed Ship (1m) L/B: 55 × 16 (16.5m × 4.9m). Hull: totora reed Comp: 9 Des: traditional Built: Phil Buck, Valparaiso, Chile; 2003.
The Viricocha made the world's first successful reed-boat voyage in 2000 from Chile to Easter Island, a 2,850-mile stretch and the trip was hailed a scientific breakthrough by the late Thor Heyerdahl, the Norwegian explorer whose famous 1947 "Kon-Tiki" expedition aboard a balsa raft inspired the Viracocha adventure.
Besides satisfying an appetite for adventure, Phil Buck hoped to promote a scientific theory that pre-Incan cultures were capable of navigating the high seas on similar reed boats and may have colonized Easter Island and other parts of Polynesia. The Viracocha II, was scheduled to begin construction on Easter Island the following November, and sail 8,000 nautical miles from there past Tahiti, to Cairns, Australia, starting in the spring of 2002.
March 17,2003 was the day the Viracocha II finally left Vina del Mar, Chile to begin the planned voyage to Sydney, Australia. The reed ship Viracocha II reached Easter Island after 75 days at sea (more than twice the anticipated time), in desperate condition - the crew was out of cooking fuel and low on food, the boat was dramatically lifted to one side (the side that was not beaten during the launch), the steering mechanism bad been rebuilt three times and was still failing, and the hull had sunk nearly 3 feet (50 percent). The captain and crew decided it would be unsafe to attempt to sail beyond Easter Island, and so the expedition halted, covering less than 25 percent of its intended route.
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ADVENTURE April 2004, Volume 6, Number 3
MATA RANGI I Reed Ship (1m) L: 131 (40m). Hull: totora reed Comp: 11 Des: traditional Built: Kitín Muñoz, Easter Island, Chile; 1996.
The 11-man crew included one Hawaiian, two Tahitians, two Maori, 2 Aymaras, three Rapanui, and one Spaniard— Kitín Muñoz, the leader of the project.
Muñoz explained: "With this voyage I would like to demonstrate that many of the parallels that exist between different cultures and people, that today are attributed to artibrary causes, had their reason in the voyages that had crossed seas and oceans in remote times and before the European expeditions of the 15th century."
He said, "In the first phase, the ship will travel through all the Polynesian islands such as Mangareva, Tahiti, Bora Bora, Tonga and Fiji reaching finally Australia. There the boat will be taken out of the water and dismantled to permit the reeds to dry, an operation that will take about two months."
On May 6th, the voyage began. The boat was scheduled to go first to Pitcairn, with the ultimate stop at Tahiti. On the 8th of May, two stowaways were found: Sergio Tuki Hito and Ricardo Hito had hidden themselves in the hold of the boat. These two brought the number of persons on the boat up to 13, and some noted that it was an unlucky number.
By the 12th of May, radio contact was lost. Four days later word came that Mata Rangi was 140 miles northwest of Rapa Nui. They had expected to have traveled 600 miles by that time, and thus declared that they would not stop at Pitcairn but head directly for Mangareva.
On the 21st of May, it was reported that, according to a satellite telephone communication received from somewhere in French Polynesia, the boat was still on course, but with a broken mast. The Chilean training ship Esmeralda was sent to offer help. They found her lying somewhat submerged and with water coming in the hole where the mast had been. Then on May 24th the news came that Mata Rangi had split in two and the crew had taken to lifeboats tied to the sinking boat. They were rescued by the Stray Dog, a sailboat that had been visiting Rapa Nui but which left to join in the rescue effort. Mata Rangi was only 185 northwest of Rapa Nui; the boat had been in the water for a mere 20 days.
MATA RANGI II Reed Ship (1m) L: 95 (29m). Hull: totora reed Comp: 9 Des: traditional Built: Kitín Muñoz, Arica, Chile; 1999.
The Mata Rangi II, a 30-meter reed boat, set sail Sunday from the northern city of Arica in what observers have described an attempt to prove that pre-Inca civilizations traveled by sea to Asia. This time Muñoz aims to reach Asia or the Micronesian Islands.
The Mata Rangi II expedition is the brainchild of Spanish adventurer Kitín Muñoz, a 40-year-old bachelor who has never had any formal training in navigation. In 1988, he successfully sailed from Peru to Polynesia in a reed boat, but in 1997, the Mata Rangi I, which was bound for Polynesia, sank about 20 days after the trip started some 300 kilometers off Easter Island, where it had set out.
The Mata Rangi II, whose name means "eyes of paradise" in Rapa Nui, the language of Easter Island, was built using reeds and bamboo from the shores of Lake Titicaca in Bolivia. It has three 12-meter high masts and one small shelter where the nine crew members will sleep, eat and navigate.
"It's not like a primitive raft," Munoz said. "We've constructed a ship that navigates where we want thanks to its sails. It's a great success up to now." He had said the Mata Rangi II was a much better craft than the earlier version.
Some 2,000 islanders headed by Mayor Lucien Kimitete saw Munoz and his seven-man crew limp into local waters 88 days after they set sail from Chile's northern port of Arica on a voyage of study and exploration. The crew had to abandon half the 95-foot (29-meter) boat -- made from 13,000 reeds from Lake Titicaca, the world's highest navigable lake -- on the high seas as molluscs ate away at its structure.
MATA RANGI III Reed Ship (1m) L/B: 65 × 14 (21m × 4.5m). Hull: totora reed Comp: 9 Des: traditional Built: Kitín Muñoz, Barcelona, Spain; 2001.
Kitín Munoz set out from northeastern Spain to traverse the Atlantic in a 65-foot (20-meter) vessel. Munoz and his eight-member crew hope to sail to the Colombian city of Cartagena de Indias. They are trying to prove that long before Christopher Columbus arrived in the Americas local sailors would have been able to cross the Pacific Ocean to Asia in similar boats.
After a first failure on "Ra I", Muñoz' mentor, the famous Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl of the "Kon Tiki" (the balsa boat that crossed the Pacific Ocean from Peru to French Polynesia in 1947) had already rallied Barbados from the Moroccan port of Safi aboard another reedboat, "Ra II", in 57 days, in 1970.
"Our expedition will demonstrate the capability of this type of boats, built with to traditional techniques and materials, to cross oceans", Kitín Muñoz explained. He also aims at demonstrating that ancient peoples could realize intercontinental voyages on the seas.
But, as Heyerdahl already proved the capability of such a transatlantic trip for such boats, Muñoz wants to go further: "The main objective of this trip is to prove the resistance of the boat and to get over the mark of five months of navigation in a boat with such characteristics."
The Mata Rangi III left Barcelona on May 6th and has stopped at several ports of the Mediterranean Sea including Valencia, Alicante, Cartagena, Malaga, and Cadiz in Spain, then in Tangiers and Rabat before reaching Sidi Ifni, a Southern Moroccan port. From this last one the expedition will weigh anchor to cross the Atlantic to its destiny in America.
After almost a month of coastal navigation with calls in Spain and Morocco, the Spanish adventurer and navigator Kitín Muñoz and his team left the Moroccan port of Sidi Ifni on December 2nd aboard their ancient-style reedboat "Mata Rangi III". Their aim is to cross the Atlantic Ocean within some 50 days and to keep sailing in the Caribbean Sea in order to test the ultimate strength of this sailboat built according to a Pre-Colombian technique. Behind this new challenge for Kitin Muñoz, inspired by Thor Heyerdahl, is the will to prove the maritime capabilities of ancient peoples and their consequences in the intercontinental population migrations.
KOTA MAMA II Reed Ship (1m) L/B: 44 (13.5m). Hull: totora reed Comp: 9 Des: traditional Built: John Blashford-Snell, Hautajata, Bolivia; 1999.
How did traces of both cocaine and nicotine find its way to ancient mummies in Egypt when these substances were native to only South America during the time of the pharoahs? Could a shipwreck full of Roman amphorae found off the coast of Brazil be evidence of cross Atlantic trading?
From Puerto Quijarro at the foothills of the Andes to Buenos Aires in Argentina, the Kota Mama expedition's reed boats sailed over 2,770 kilometers in a quest to prove the existence of early trading links between South America and Africa. A 50-member team moved down the Rio Paraguay carrying out archaeological and ethnographic surveys, wildlife conservation programs and community aid projects in Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil. Both boats used in the expedition survived the journey proving that similar voyages could have been undertaken hundreds of years ago.
A future Kota Mama expedition is tentatively planned to cross the Atlantic Ocean from West to East by a route around the Cape of Good Hope to the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea. It will be using boats based on the traditional designs that Dr Thor Heyerdahl used when he sailed across from Africa to Barbados. Indications that suggest the possibility of trans-Atlantic trade at that time include language similarity, step pyramids in Mexico and traces of cocaine and nicotine found in mummies from 1200 BC in Egypt.
QALA YAMPU Reed Ship (1m) L/B/D: 47 × 15 × 6 (14.3m × 4.6m × 1.8m). Hull: totora reed Comp: 9 Des: traditional Built: Paul Harmon and Alexei Vranich, Hautajata, Bolivia; 1999.
The prehistoric city of Tiwanaku, on the southern shore of Bolivia’s famous Lake Titicaca, was abandoned around 1000 AD, some 400 years before the Inca established their Andean empire. Its monumental ruins have often been compared to Stonehenge in that no one knows how an ancient civilization could have made them. It is puzzling not only because some of the stones weigh as much as 130 tons, but because there are no quarries nearby, but rather on the other side of Lake Titicaca.
Our theory is that these giant andesite stones were transported across Lake Titicaca on reed boats of ancient design to the closest shores to Tiwanaku, then laboriously dragged 10 kilometers to the city. We wanted to test this theory by recreating the Tiwanaku building process with a multi-national team of volunteers, aided by leading Aymara experts in totora reed boat building.
This project was to: • Quarry a 9 ton stone. • Build a totora boat to carry the stone and sail it across the lake. • Load and unload the stone using only natural ancient means. • Carve the stone into a monolith celebrating the local culture, old, new, and future.
If we emulated the ancient design successfully, the boat's porous nature would have filtered out water from the waves kicked up by the fierce winds of the Altiplano. If not, we could have been swamped, and lost the 9 ton stone, or worse. Would our reed boat sink under the weight of a 9 ton stone, or would it simply fold and collapse around it as some experts had claimed?
Our boat was about 47 feet long, 15 feet wide and 6 feet high. The mast was about 27 feet high. The daggerboards were 8 ½ feet long and more than 2 feet wide. The head of the rudders were 7 ½ feet long and more than 2 feet long. We had sails made of totora as well as a textile sail. We had 5 oars to row the Qala Yampu when there was no wind and we felt particularly energetic and strong.
Our boat weighed about 12 tons before going to the water. Once in the lake she absorbed water which is the nature of totora. The absorbed water acted like ballast, having a tremendous stabilizing effect. Originally the boat only drafted about 15 inches. Once the stone was loaded she drafted about double that in the center where the weight was, but considerably less away from center. She held the weight of our 9 ton stone with ease. If poles were placed correctly on the deck of the boat to distribute the weight, the Qala Yampu could have easily carried double the weight!
Qala means "stone" in Aymara, and Yampu means "totora boat". The Stone Boat, very appropriate.
Excellent First Post and a Great addition to the Thread