Fishing Lore of Tobi. Peter W. Black 1968, 2017
Types of Canoes
The following are the only four types of canoes ever known on Tobi.
1. Waribir. From 6 to 8 fathoms long and one fathom high. These canoes were for racing, funerals, and for going out to meet ships to trade for metal and tobacco. The canoes had sails and could carry up to 30 people. Patricio saw 10 of them when he was a small boy but there are none on the island now because they were used to carry their dead owners beyond the reef.
2. Uatur. From 4 to 5 fathoms long. Used for catching flying fish, turtle, and Tir (see Day Fishing Method 40) (a small fish that is found in large schools on the surface and netted in the daytime). Because of its odd shape, the Uatur is a very slow sailer and will not sink when full of Tir or people hunting turtles.
3. Waruhuh. This is the sailing canoe. It is now used for tuna. Before they learned this method from the Japanese it was used to go to logs drifting far out to fish. From 3 fathoms to 4 fathoms long.
4. Haramah. 2-1/4 fathoms long. Used for most types of fishing. A one-man canoe.
Note on fathoms: The Tobi word Ngaf refers to the distance between the tips of the fingers when the arms are outstretched. For canoes 1, 2, and 3, the Ngaf is that of the builder, but the Haramah is measured by the prospective owner.
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Updated: January 19, 2017