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Punting or Poling Possibilities

 Image from the 1840s  that tries to convert 
indigenous poling to English 'punting' .
Tomorrow (or the next day) I'm gonna try poling. Poling? We assume that canoes are paddled but many indigenous 'canoeists' move forward by pushing themselves along with  poles. (Go see 'Ten Canoes' for example) Double blade paddles and what forth seem a bit of a Western locomotion obsession channeling the Inuit. A recent concession is the new popularity for the sport of stand up paddling on large Malibu style surf boards.

In Britain of course the reliable punt has a long history of pole motivation.

The question is whether my craft  has enough tracking confidence to hold a straight line with each push. But 'my waters' are shallow waters albeit open to the vagaries of the cruel  sea.

I  suspect that I may have to pole it from a unsuitable balancing location on the deck.

I also have to be able to stand up and wield a big stick without falling over board. I have selected a good length of bamboo from my domestic collection of canes. I hope to  punt on a high tide (low high tide) early in the morn before the wind gets up.

Karumosa, a Kula canoe from the Trobriand Islands,
 Papua New Guinea
Poling offers a few advantages I suspect over paddling:

  1. With each pole push you get more traction and greater thrust than you would from a dipped paddle stroke.
  2. Poling would offer greater counter resistance to the force of  currents, waves or wind. This is why canoe poling in the US is often done upstream on shallow, even fast flowing, waterways. 
  3. A pole in place on the bottom holds the craft in place like an anchor against prevailing conditions and from that locked postion moves the canoe forward.This counters any reverse trend.
  4. A pole is easily stored on board for ready use. Eg: strapped to the mast or even part of the mast or spar.
  5. Poling suits shallow waters and shoals that are not deep enough for even a paddle dip.
  6. A pole is the quintessential tool kit for a flat bottom boa. Whereas paddle strokes value  chine.
I already pole when I'm  'sailing' because it's the most efficient way to move out of or cross the shallows. My problem is that I use the paddle and I know from past experience when I was paddling surf skis that poling along the bottom -- even a sandy bottom --with a paddle blade is a short cut to splitting it. So I've been turning the single blade paddle of mine upside down to pole with it. But that maneuver is  clumsy. 

I had thought of carrying extendable walking stick specifically for poling while seated -- but why not go the whole hog and stand up to pole? That way the swing left and right across the deck is easier (I assume) than what it would be seated.
Note: Since I trimmed back my mast and sail today I hypothetically have more room on board to do other stuff. Look at the Kula  above -- it's loaded up big time with gear. Among the stuff is the canoe's sail. The Kula canoe  also has a twin hull (albeit a huge outrigger to one side) similar to my beast.
I guess the takeaway is that it pays to be eclectic when you're afloat and I'm learning that getting my craft and I from A to B can be a mix of possibilities: sailing, paddling, towing or poling/punting.



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