Thursday, October 10, 2013

Home again...

Good to be back home after some intense days in Finland. I thought the work would be done by now, but has just begun. The material we have gathered is great, but notes have to be written and pictures have to be sorted. Drawings have to be done, discussed and re-done....

The figures in this beautiful uluxtax look so alive - it's spooky how they look at you from the past. this model shows two Aleuts who are fishing.

Another little model, much similar in shape to the full size iqyax in the museum. The Aleut man figure does what we call a "stern rudder" paddle stroke nowadays. wonder what names they had for their paddle strokes in the old days? 

A bit of interior in the iqyax.....some testing and creative thinking made us able to get good detailed pictures inside the kayak, and a good examination of the framework. This is the cockpit area, and guess what the Aleut brought with him as a repair kit? in this case some extra baleen strips and 2 spare ribs. one rib carried in each side of the kayak between gunwale and first stringer, between ribs and cover. in this picture the spare  rib is visible just above the gunwale.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Iqyax continued....

I just can't wait to publish the material we gather these days on the internet! However, a lot of work still needs to be done before the material is available. 

Today was so exciting! We finished the paddles and began measuring the kayak (Iqyax). The condition is good, and it dates back before 1834, so this is really a unique treasure. It's 540 cm. long and 44,5 cm. wide. Cover sewn from 3 sea lion skins with decoration of wool and hair. We started examining what we could of the interior, and I learned a lot about how it was built.

We worked from 8 to 18, and sit and work on the notes on details in this moment. Tomorrow will be another long day of kayak survey, photographing and inspecting some small models in the collection!...

to be continued.... 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Iqyax Survey in Helsinki

Finally, the day had come for me to examine some of the material in the Museum of Cultures, Helsinki Finland. To my great relief, Ivar Finnard, one of the Project Inuit members, offered his assistance on this delicate job. 
We arrived Helsinki Yesterday evening, and spent today in the museum's exhibition halls. The reason for the stay is mainly the great Aleutian material the museum own. Our job this time was to survey one Aleut Iqyax from around 1830 and no less than 4 Aleut paddles dating from the period from 1830-1850

In the picture you see Ivar and Heli from the museum, who gave us such good help today.

Exciting is not the word to describe my feelings holding a genuine Aleut paddle in my white-cotton gloved hands! I've been thinking of this since my last visit in Finland in 2007!!! Some experience!!

We started a digital scan of the whole kayak, and close examined 3 of 4 paddles today. Tomorrow we do a traditional survey of the kayak.

Ivar making 1:1 drawings of the fist paddle. 
to be continued.......

Sunday, October 6, 2013

New ride x 2

I haven't had much time to test out the new Iqyax I finished this summer. Just a few very short trip, haven't given me much idea of this special kayak's potential, strengths and (if any?) weaknesses.

Got a chance to test my "new" car today also. It looks quite strange with a 5,86 long kayak on the roof, but the kayak is so light it doesn't matter.

Just a few kilometers of paddling today gave me the following thoughts of the kayak:

1. It's fast, but the cruising speed is not that different from much shorter/wider kayaks i own.

2. Impressive stability, only 42 cm. wide. I feel perfectly safe.

3. It tracks very well, even in short annoying waves, likely to push your kayak sideways.

4. I hate the ridged aft deck! A flat aft deck makes the kayak so much easier to enter. I wonder if the Aleuts had some special trick they used to get in and out of their kayaks???

5. Got a feel of surf on small waves today. It would be great fun to take it out in some big ocean swell soon. I put that on my list of things to do this autumn. 

Now it's home and pack my bags for a 3 days stay in Helsinki. We are going to examine and survey an even older Iqyax there, and 4 old Aleut paddles!! I keep posting in the next couple of days - this is really exciting!