Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Frozen Rowing

I went rowing today and found it hard work in a F5 breeze against the tide.
Exhausted, I slumped in front of the telly to watch David Attenborough's latest triumph, Frozen Planet. And he showed people who have it really tough.
The Aleut peoples of Chukotka, the bit of Russia that Sarah Palin can see from her bedroom window, hunt in boats made of walrus skin on wooden frames. They kill walrus by throwing huge weighted harpoons attached to inflated walrus bladders to stop them from diving.
The unfortunate walrus even provide puncture repair outfits - holes in the hulls are repaired with dobs of walrus fat.
I admire the hardihood and self-reliance of these people so much. Their timing could be better though. And they used a very short, sharp stroke. Could that be to cope with rougher conditions?
The Frozen Planet series is the best thing on the TV right now by a country mile - if you are in the UK and haven't watched this superb programme already, watch it on BBC iplayer NOW.


JP said...

Its amazing isn't it? That skin boat looked very fragile for waters dotted with chunks of ice.

Jolly glad I got a freesat HD PVR so can see it in all its glory

Philip Meakins said...

Brilliant boat - especially that wonderful flared bow yet quite fine entry.
They were fairly packed in - two to a bench but I couldnt see how close the benches were , but probably main reason for short stroke was short oars( timber in short supply?).
Lastly , it is possible they now just use the aluminium outbard boats and are forgetting the old skills?

Chris Partridge said...

It did occur to me that rowing might have been displaced by the dreaded outboard...if you look closely at the video, I suspect one or two of the rowers are members of the film crew....