Jul 31, 2007

Skinny Qajaq (or kayak)

My fascination with kayaking is growing dangerously now and eats into my mercenary activity.

I am digesting a ton of new information about Inuit, Eskimo, Greenland, kayak design, different boats, different rolls and then I came upon something that links me back to an amazing movie, Atanarjuat or Fast Runner in English. On the web site, there is this boat; a reproduction of Qajaq.

"In the film, Atanarjuat paddles to shore in this qajaq (one-man canoe), toward his summer camp and his wife Atuat, who is now expecting their son.

The qajaq was re-constructed by John MacDonald of the Igloolik Research Institute based on detailed structural drawings of a qajaq in the Inuit collection at the British Museum. The drawing, by Michael Morgan, was paid for by Morton and Estelle Sosland.

The qajaq in the museum is almost 200 years old and actually comes from the region of Igloolik, taken to England by the Parry Expedition of 1822-23. The original structure consists of a whalebone frame and a skin-covering attached with braided sinew."

Then, that leads to this other page at Canadian Museum page with three boats. They are unlike most skin kayaks.

Puzzled, searching long and hard leads to another page of a blog which feels more like bridge to the bygone time. Michael is the old timer who lived with Inuits and lives out in the arctics in the summer. And he has this picture of chasing a caribou and losing him in the chase.

See this article by Michael. Here are pictures of skinny qajaq he lost and found recently.

Voila moment, Inuits made these skinny Qajaq to chase caribou through water. For them, kayak was a tool. Fat kayak may be good for harpooning seals. Skinny ones would be good going after fast moving caribou, apparently they are good paddlers (hoofers).


bonnie said...

Michael was at the club last winter! Very nice gentleman, we'd met briefly at the 2006 Sweetwater Greenland/BCU event - the Greenland & BCU parts overlapped by a day and he & I sat next to each other & listened to the coaches talk story at dinner. Michael didn't let on that night that he had so many good stories of his own! Anyways, he did another Florida trip this winter, although I think he skipped Sweetwater in favor of camping in the Everglades or some such wonderfulness. He was driving, and visiting people he was in touch with through blogging en route. Unfortunately he didn't have a drysuit, so I couldn't take him out on the bay, but I did show off the club grounds & then we went for a walk on the Coney Island boardwalk.

He did mention that he'd love to actually paddle out of the club sometime if he could ever work it in with another trip.

Chalu said...

Yes, I noticed he listed your blog and thought you might know him. It would be great to have him paddle with us.