17 ft 1 in
2 ft 8 in
Caribbean expedition Canoe: Boboy was one of two canoes that went from Venezuela to Miami in the Caribbean in 1977-78, taking eight months to complete the voyage. It is more sophisticated that most canvas (rubberised) covered canoes, in that it has inflatable buoyancy bags down both sides. This will certainly prevent sinking but occupies a lot of valuable space.
This boat has been lent by Geoff Hunter the expedition's photographer.
On 1st September 1977 three men and one woman left the Peninsula de Paria in Venezuela in two canoes to paddle by way of the Windward Islands, Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola and the Bahamas to Miami in Florida. The expedition was led by a New Zealander John Dowd and his Canadian wife Beatrice. Kenneth Beard and Stephen Benson, both from the United Kingdom, were the other two members of the team.
They planned their voyage to start at the end of the hurricane season in 1977 and to be completed before the beginning of the next hurricane season in June. In fact they reached Miami on April 29th in 1978.
As with so many of the early navigators in the West Indies - and it is believed that the route taken closely resembled that used by the Carib and Arawak Indians - it was sickness and disease that was the enemy as much as the coral guarded islands and the weather.
Hidden coral, water spouts, sharks and super tankers are particular hazards in the West Indies to which should be added storm, strong currents and very hot sun and all the other difficulties that accompany a sea voyage. But it was an infected arm for the leader of the expedition and then septicaemia for Stephen Benson that came closest to ending the expedition.
Benson was flown back to England and was replaced by Richard Gillett. But how many expeditions in the past were decimated by sickness with crews so reduced that ships had to be abandoned, with explorations or conquests turned back? And so it would or could have been here, had not the invention of the aeroplane enabled them to replace the lost crew member and in sufficient time for them to reach their destination and safety.
This very successful expedition was sponsored by Guinness Caribbean.
There are currently no comments on this item. Be the first to comment on this item by filling in the form below.