When I was 8 or 10 I got a 'paddle board'. It was a floaty thing made up of two pieces of plywood separated by air.
On Summer holidays I was exposed to paddling sit-in kayaks (also made from plywood) along the Mornington Peninsula coast.
So by the time I got into my teens -- with 60's surf culture all around me --all I could think about was going offshore.
So I graduated to a banana ski board, which a chippy in the neighbourhood built for me. I had saved up all the cash to pay for the build. I went long distances with that boat. I explored the coast, headed offshore, surfed it ...it was FFUN!
The 'ski' was something like this -- a flat deck with stirrups:
Twenty plus years later I took up canoeing and paddled Canadian style canoes down a few of Victorian's rivers.
But I was, by disposition, a salty dog -- and while I like the fresh water rivers with their meanderings and steady currents, my bodily essences are salt sea anchored.
So thirty years later... I get myself a plastic sit-on-top kayak and paddle forth (pictured right/below) upon my local bay. I even use it to learn how to sail.
So it goes...
And so we come to today. I'm no longer a boy.
But TODAY I have a new boat! A wooden craft.
Not quite finished and nothing snazzy. But I'm in sync with that past. I think this pirogue will take me many great places out to sea and along the coast... and I live but 500 metres from the sea.
A pirogue is a small, flat-bottomed boat of a design associated particularly with the Cajuns of the Louisiana marsh. In West Africa they were used as traditional fishing boats. These boats are not usually intended for overnight travel but are light and small enough to be easily taken onto land. The design also allows the pirogue to move through the very shallow water of marshes and be easily turned over to drain any water that may get into the boat. A pirogue has "hard chines" which means that instead of a smooth curve from the gunwales to the keel, there is often a flat bottom which meets the plane of the side. The pirogue is usually propelled by paddles that have one blade (as opposed to a kayak paddle, which has two). It can also be punted with a push pole in shallow water. Small sails can also be employed.Ironically I spent a lot of time paddling around yacht clubs when I was growing up. But I never wanted to join them -- the 'yachties'-- (although I was asked). They were foreign to my penchant to simply mess about in a boat for the sake of being on the water.I didn't fish. I didn't sail. I just wanted to 'cruise' -- hang out along the coast.