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Marshallese Traditional Canoes

-Marshallese Traditional Canoes-
May 1st-August 31st, 2000

Among the seaman of the world are sailors of Marshall Islands of the Pacific Ocean. They have always been skillful in Navigation.

The Marshallese people of long ago, spent much time on the water under the open sky. They traveled long distances by canoes without becoming lost. Even at night they knew where they were, for they kept their outrigger canoes pointed to the well-known stars. They knew the group of stars and had their own names for them.

The knowledge of navigation was secret, it was taught by one generation to another only through certain persons. Without the navigator, the people would have been helpless on the ocean.

Today few korkor, tipnol, and walap exist anymore, sailing between atoll is becoming rare. In the Marshall Islands, sailing between islands was common.

The outrigger canoes of the Marshall Islands are such sophisticated and well engineered craft which, combined with one of the most advanced methods of navigation, allowed the Marshallese to voyage long distances. For thousands of years, the outrigger canoe was means of transportation upon which the subsistence economy of the Marshall Islands relied. It has become clear that the traditional sailing canoes of the Marshall Islands do conform with a "modern world" role model in the form of an appropriate technology suited perfectly to the economic of a Pacific Islands lifestyle.


   

 Jaltok---Traditional adze
 Ekkwal---Rope made from coconut fiber