Piroga Dugout Canoe

DSCF0079Possibly one of the earliest and simplest forms of waterborne travel, this type of boat, made from a single trunk of Goiticia, a rot-resistant hardwood, has been common on the east coast of Brazil for thousands of years. No preservatives are used in the construction, although sometimes paint is added for decoration and identification purposes. The wood is brought from forests 25 to 50 kilometres away, originally by oxen but now by lorry, and only three tools are used in its construction: a long-handled adze for the bulk of the work and two smaller adzes for finishing the sides. Inboard, the surface is not flush but ‘frames’ have been carved to give additional strength.

This particular boat was built in Linhares, a fishing village 130 kilometres north of the Port of Victoria in Espirito Santo, Brazil. Its builder claims that it is exactly the same as any of the best boats built over the last 400 years in the region.

There still remains a small demand for these boats because of the cheapness, toughness, reliability and buoyancy. No maintenance is required, even when left out in all weathers. Some are fitted with small motors and taken many miles out to sea on fishing expeditions. The boats tend to be between 7 and 15 metres in length as they need to be able to negotiate the heavy surf which abounds on the east coast of Brazil.

Builder: Joaquim Ademar Viera
Place: Linhares, Brazil
Date: 1973

Dimensions:
Length: 34 ft (10.5 m)
Beam: 2 ft 4 in (0.72m)
Depth: 1 ft 7 in (0.48m)