Chapter 31

First Patrol on trading Canoes

Then it came my turn to go on patrol with the ADO. This was going to be for three weeks up the coast towards Moresby visiting villages between Abau and Hula – about sixty miles to the west of Abau. This trip was to be done by sailing canoe, since most was inshore and shallow water. The canoe was typical of the earlier trading canoes – two hollowed logs secured with outriggers and the mast in the centre with timber slats for decking. The mast was stayed and the sail was a square tarpaulin with a diagonal timber gaff going from the junction of the mast and deck to the uppermost corner. Going about with a change in wind direction was a case of moving the steering oar from one end to the other so fortunately the trade winds were fairly constant in direction. There was a coaming of sorts secured to the log sides to raise the freeboard but the log hulls were not covered over. Any water getting in was bailed out using coconut shells or tins, if they had any.
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