Chapter 6: GEOMETRIES OF MOTIONS: Trees and the Boats of the Eastern Kula Ring
Chapter 6: GEOMETRIES OF MOTION: Trees and the Boats of the Eastern Kula Ring
‘We have been trained to think of patterns, with the exception of those of music, as fixed affairs. It is easier and lazier that way but, of course, all nonsense. In truth, the right way to begin to think about the pattern which connects is to think of it a primarily…a dance of interacting parts…”Gregory Bateson, Mind and Nature(1979: 13) quoted from El Guindi, Fadwa 2008 BY NOON PRAYER: The Rhythm of Islam Oxford and New York: Berg Press
Fred: “When Lavanay (a twenty year-old anageg/Kemurua) wears out what will you get next?”
Duweyala, the anageg/kemurua’s captain & owner: “A dinghy and a 50 horse power Yamaha.”
From 2006, Dibolel working on a replacement kiyad for his Gawan anageg Bwadanakup. He is sitting under his house, one of his pigs in front of him, two betelnut to his right along with my notepad. The tree is alidad, the usual tree for this part, and he has let is dry for several weeks before doing the trimming shown here.
Bwadananakup interior hull structure from 2006. The outrigger float is to the left. The kiyad (crossbeams) are tied tightly to the seisuiy on the right and left, as discussed in Chapter 6. The kiyad goes through the hull to the float on the left. Seisuiy are made from igsigis or akidus trees and while kiyad are tied to them they are not tied to the gulumoms, ribs, but rather fit through each one.
From 2012, on the model anageg assembling the watot, the stantions which will connect the crossbeams, kiyad, to the outrigger float. The process of placing the watot into the float and tying them to the kiyad is called -lilam, a verb.
Continuing with the 2012 model boat, pounding the watot into place along the outrigger float.
From the 2012 model anageg, continuing with -lilam, here tying the watot. As noted in the text, the distance between the keel and the outrigger float is a critical variable. A best guess is used to start off a boat and each time a new outrigger float must be put on. It is adjusted as used, of course . Dibolel completely changed the settings on his anagag Bwadanakup when he first obtained it.
From the 2012 model-building. The kiyad placement on an anageg is the beginning of a complex structure the next steps for which are shown here as this piece is tied onto the kiyad but set out from the strakes. Between the kiyad ties other holes are created for a secondary set of beams that become part of this structure. Only briefly described in the text, the platform structure is likened to the flooring in a house.
Continuing with the outrigger platform structure by tying another of the pamanag between the two center kiyad. The kunusop/duwadul structure for this model has already been made and rests across the kiyad inside the hull. Part of its tying attaches it to the pamanag.
From 1998. This picture was originally taken to show the end of one of the boat’s main springs, a piece called nedin. But it does a better job of showing how the boat design deals with some of its motions. Every anageg should have 10 kiyad, cross beams running from the outrigger float–out of sight but to the right here. All but two of the kiyad run from one side to the other side of the boat, tied to its two seisuiy. The fist and tenth seisuiy, however, are lapped to the outrigger-side seisuiy but do not cross to nor are they tied to the opposite seisuiy. This is because the movement of the outrigger float is the most extreme at its two ends; their motions would threaten the integrity of the hull.
From 2002, Lavanay gulumom(rib) reversal. The kunusob, socket joint that holds the sail, is in the center of the boat. There are five kiyad, cross-beams between the bow and the kunusop and five between the kunusop and the prow. Likewise, there are five sets of gulumoms, ribs, behind and in front of the kunusop. However, their relative relation to each other is reversed on other side of the kunusop. Between the bow and the kunusop the walam gulumom is behind the watan kunusop as in the upper right in this picture. Between the kunusop and the prow the walam kunusop leads, is in front of the watan gulumom.
II. Spings and the internal structure of the boat
The Hull: In/Out/In
Left: 1974-75: One of Wabunun’s highly regarded kaybwag, a middle-sized outrigger. Compared to an anageg it looks flimsy but it is as carefully designed and executed as an anageg. It is probably close to 10 meters long. Its matsibod closure faces the camera designating the boat’s “base.” The kunubwara is at the tip. Its right side is lower than the left so that the poles that might be thrust ahead of the boat for poling purposes do not hit it. Right: 1974-75, another of Wabunun’s renowned middle-sized outriggers. With very fast paddling or a good wind this boat would hydroplane, rising so that the outrigger float skims the surface of the ocean or rises completely out of it. Speeds such as that by paddling were necessary, and sometime successful, for chasing turtles. The taller of the several people in this picture is Gumiya, my valuable guide, companion and instructor from 1996; in front of him facing the camera is Abgunin, Wabunun’s school master in 2012; behind him is “Lemik,” until Aisi remarried Sipum’s youngest brother, from after 2000 one of Wabunun’s main voices.
2012. From the model anageg the central structure of the keel shows how pairs of gulumom (rib) are tied into place. The holes between the ribs are for tying the bottom strake.
From the 2012 model anageg: trimming a cut-away on the bottom end of the bottom strake which must fit into the grove (atonen) designed for it towards the end of the keel. Hours must be devoted to cutting a log into a strake then more time with an adze so that it is about ready; then even more time for the final stages of fitting.
From 2012 model anageg: This shot shows how the bottom strake fits into its groove (atonen) on the keel, how the strake above it overlaps it, and how both strakes fit into the groove cut in the kunubwara. Holes have been drilled into the bottom strake. Its almost ready to be tied.
Kaynikw, Down/Up/Down: the heart, or lung and navel.
From 2002, Levanay’s new kaynikw placement. This picture shows how the eyalyal are tied to the 6th gulumom (rib) set. The eyalyal extend in the opposite direction about 5 meters back toward the back (“base”) of the boat. The first, left/outrigger float side, kaynikw has been set across the talapal and its tying has started.
From 2002, Levanay’s new kaynikw placement and its asymmetries. This shot shows how the eyalyal are fixed closer to the outrigger side, the left side of the boat looking forward from its base, but the right side of this picture. It also shows how the kaynikw are set over the eyalyal, centered with the outrigger side (right in the picture), off-center and to the left over the slightly larger watan/katan eyalyal.
From 2002, Levanay’s new kaynikw placement, kaynikw tying. Kaynikw are tied in their middle four positions first, moving from left to right and back (“base”) to front (“top/tip”). Then ends are tied, again preserving the order just noted. In this shot the base is tied, Duweyala positions himself to tie the top.
From 2002, Levanay’s new kaynikw placement: Once the kaynikw is in place the structure is prepared for the kunusop. In the past a coconut husk was set over the kaynikw. Now a piece of thick rubber is used. In this shot Duweyala is fastening a sipkwadoy knot over the watan/katan eyalyal to begin fastening the kunusop.
From 2002 Levanay’s new kunusop placement: The kunusop, the form that will hold the mast, is centered over the kaynikw then tied using the “pig nose” (abunubuluk) carved for that purpose.
From 2002 Levanay’s new kunusop placement: Once the kunusop is fixed onto the kaynikw the next step may be started, the tying of the nedin on to the extension of the kunusop, the duwadul. The duwadul rises up in the center of this picture, just opposite the “nose”used to tie down the kunusop. In this image the slight arcing of the kaynikw is visible. The two ends are pulled down, the center pushed up by the doubled means of the talapal height differential and the tapered kaynikw.
The nedin: Center fast, the ends float
From 2002, Gideon, from Ole/Koyagaugau on the beach in Wabunun sculpting a new akidus into the proper diameter for a nedin.
From 1998, a Nasikwabw anageg. The nedin(nadin in Nasikwabw) is the piece angling in from the lower right corner tied loosely to the kiyad that only goes about half way into the boat’s hull structure.
From 1998, the other end of the Nasikwabw anageg looking at the end of the nedin following its arc over the outrigger platform towards the duwadul, not visible in this picture.
Left: From 2002, Levanay’s slight outrigger float arc towards each of the keel’s ends. This design feature is, according to Duweyala, supposed to shift weight from the keel/hull to the outrigger. This shot is after the platform has been retied. It can be seen that the platform flooring is tied to the pamanag, but not the kiyad. Right: Also 2002, but before the outrigger platform has been retied, showing the arcing of Levanay’s keel towards the float to the left.
From the 2012 model anageg: Adding to the outrigger platform structure. Just outside the watot, the stantions connecting the kiyad to the outrigger float, a piece is tied running nearly the full length of the float. It is called pilpilitet. Tied to it are beams called pamanag, that run between it and the albeikun, the board tied out from the strakes used to create the mayowag, a coconut frond covered space designed to prevent waves from lapping into the hull area. Eventually a 10-kiyad boat will have 9 pamanag, one between each set of kiyad. The slender trees cut to create the final top of the outrigger platform are tied to these pamanag, and must not be tied to the kiyad. The central pamanag becomes an important part of the nedin structure for an important knot runs between the duwadul and that central pamanag as the nedin tying is completed. In a sense, two structured layers connect the hull to the outrigger float, one by means of the kiyad, the other by means of the kunusop/duwadul structure and the pamanag.
From 1998, Mwalubeya’s anageg resting in Koyagaugau, showing the auleybwad tied onto several kiyad (and seisuiy) pressing the duwadul securely into place. Resting over it is one of the boat’s two enam, very light prismatic shaped pieces of wood used to support a mast’s angle as it is tilted towards the outrigger float
From the 2012 model anageg construction: Bracing the duwadul with the piece called auleybwad. Tied to kiyad it presses the duwadul into place connecting the two structures that tie the hull and outrigger float(lam) together, the seisuiy–gulumom–kiyad–watot–lam set and the duwadul–tanuwag–lam set.
Left: From 2002, Duweyala placing first of two slanted tanuwag into outrigger float. This operation is conjoined with the tying of the nedin, which lies between Duweyala’s feet. One person said “tanuwag” comes from toniwagan, a Muyuw expression that refers to someone or thing that governs another. Right: From 2002, with Duweyala beginning the nedin tying , wrapped into the two slanted tanuwag, Gideon pounds the wrapping into place on the two vertical tanuwag. The tying form for both sets of tanuwag is kumis, the same structure used for tying the kiyad to the watot.
Left: 2002, retying Levanay’s the nedin: Duweyala above, Gideon beneath the outrigger platform preparing to tie the duwadul to the central pamanag. Upper right: 2002, retying Levanay’s the nedin. Rope–it should be the vine mamal–is passing over the duwadul going beneath the outrigger platform to a pamanag out of sight below. Lower right: 2002, retying Levanay’s the nedin. Gideon looking at the camera underneath the outrigger platform, his hand near the knot that has secured the duwadul to the pamanag.
From 2002, top left Nedin tying. In the center of this picture the slanted tanuwag hold the duduwal and extend down to the right into the outrigger float. The nedin is the white pole to the left with a woven coconut frond and the rolled up sail further to the left. The nedin is placed on the duwadul held loosely in place but, beyond the sights of this picture, arced into each end of the craft. Duweyala readies the line–it should be mamad– that will tie the nedin in place around both the duwadul and up to the tanuwag. Upper right: From 2002 Nedin tying, 2. The nedin is now tied around the duwadul. Note that the provisional tie holding it in place is no longer there. Beneath the nedin the knot running down to the pamanag is visible. Further down on the duwadul the auleybwad can be seen crossing it and just beyond a gulumom the tie between the auleybwad and an invisible kiyad. Below the tanuwag is one of the stones–“grandparent”– Duweyala was using to pound the lines tight. Bottom center: From 2002 Nedin tying, 3.Duweyalal hammers the rope into place that is connecting the fastening around the nedin to the tanuwag up to the right.
From the 2012 model anageg, the “wag kan” (boat food) tied over the place where the nedin is fastened to the duwadul. Rather than the now usual black rubber strip, a portion of a coconut husk was put over the leaves, the green visible around the edges of the tie.
Upper left: From 2002 Nedin tying: A piece of hard rubber, formerly a coconut husk, is secured over the fastening that first holds down the nedin and wraps it to the tanuwag. This is to protect the fastening from enam, the prismatic structures that will be laid over this part of the boat as one of the devices for adjusting the angle to which the mast leans toward the outrigger platform. Upper right: From 2002 Nedin tying, Gideon, Duweyala’s older brother, handles the wrapping that runs up to the tanuwag. Lower center: From 2002 Nedin tying,6: Final touches as Gideon completes the nedin connection with final loops around the tanuwag.
2002, retying Lavanay outrigger platform. Top: Asibwad (Timonius timon) poles tied to form the top layer of the outrigger platform. Although just tied to the pamanag, beams set between the kiyad, this form nevertheless ties together the two structural forms conjoining the outrigger float to the hull. They are bound by two planks or poles running the length of the platform, the albeikun and the pilpilitet, the latter shown here. Each of these is tied to both the kiyad and the pamanag. This flooring is put in before the kaynikw and nedin, and tanuwag, are redone. Bottom left: A close-up of the binding process for the outrigger flooring. Asibwad poles are not long enough to reach the length of the platform but two together usually are. So the trees’s bases are tied to the ends of the platform, their tops tied together near its center. Bottom right: “Grandparent” stones are used to fasten this flooring, for the most part using a continuous line for each pamanag. The tying material should be mamad. These pieces shown here (bottom right) are being tied around an old tanuwag. It is good that the when these are retied they will have to be fit through these tightly bound asibwad poles.
The Vayiel, Mast: a fixed base, swaying top. And the kavavis, which does not bend.
Left: From 2002: Distant shot of Lavanay’s new Nasikwabw mast showing the balau and powan balau. Although people speak as if there is just one balau line, there are usually two said to be in a mother/child relationship, the latter helping the former. 2002R4Mast Right: From 2009: A close up of a model mast showing balau and powan balau lines as well as the yawasay, halyard, the line used to raise and lower the sail. The kuk, carved rooster, must point away from the outrigger float, the sail on the opposite, outrigger float side of the mast.
From 2002, Levanay’s three kavavis, the two inan “mother” on the left, the natun, “child” on the right.
From 2002, John demonstrating the position for holding the kavavis while seated on above the outrigger float on the trailing edge of Levanay.
Left: From 1998, a Nasikwabw anageg showing the gap on the platform designed for the insertion of a kavavis. The kavavis goes up and down against the outrigger float, pressure from the water pushing the piece into the float. The large gap to the very left is a toilet. Right: The 1998 Nasikwabw anageg underway with the kavavis “down” and right next to the float. On this anageg there was a groove in the watot inside of which the kavavis would slide and be held.
III. Imagery and the external structure of the boat
The body and the house
From 2009: Three anakan (kiyad equated structures) are evident in this shot, one from the lower right angling to the top, another from the lower middle which intersects with its opposite at the point where the poiyi intersect, and one distant towards the back. The two others are not in this picture. Made from a very light wood (often a swamp tree), these pieces tend to be more rectangular than the round shape found with virtually all other house parts. As noted in the text, the ideal 5 in number is exactly half the number of kiyad that should be found in an anageg. The image of a boat is then completed by the house that should be opposite of this one in the ideal two-rowed village eastern and central Muyuw villages should replicate.
Between the cock and the banded sea snake
Levanay kuk, an image of a rooster, photographed on a house mat in Nasikwabw, 2002. Carved from Calophyllum Inophyllm, the tenon of the mortise and tenon structure is on the far right. The hole just to its left is for the halyard, the line by which a sail is raised. The angled discoloration further to the left is from the balau powan, the tie that pulls the structure up towards the mast. The line further up the rooster’s neck, called weko, is tied down on the mast for exerting pressure down.
Images of the Kuk, the “rooster” form which sits near the top of the mast. Carved out of Kakam (Calophyllum Inophyllum), the form always points to the side opposite the outrigger float, supports the halyard that holds the place of the sail higher or lower on the mast, and provides a mnemonic for the passage of time at night, the time for voyages when navigational issues are most important.
2009, hens and roosters perched at night in the upper reaches of a frangipani tree behind Dibolel’s house in Wabunun. Every domestic dwelling whether in a village or alone by itself in the bush has as part of its context two or more chickens. From their perches at night they will call every hour or so until dawn initiating a chorus across the village that people regularly attend. Perched above an anageg on its mast they take the same position, strutting their place in the scheme of things…
Top Left: Close-up front image of the end (sibun) carving (pus) for Bwadanakup’s keel (2006-7 photo). Affixed to the keel and behind the seaeagle image is the part called tabuiy/dabuiy. It is modeled after the gracefully rising neck of a heron but contains a plethora of images among them vertically oriented swirls whose head-like forms supposedly depict seaeagles. Top Right: Close-up side of the end of Bwadanakup’s keel (2006-7 photo). These images also show how cowrie shells (yavig) are tied to these forms. They are expected to shatter waves sending up a spray that is likened to smoke. In some shell sequences the position of the shells inverts between one end and another of a series. Bottom: A 2002 photo of Lavanay showing the different positions of the outrigger float (lam) end, which should model a turtle’s head in the water, contrasted to the raised end of the keel which images the high-flying seaeagle.
From 2012, Bwadanakup’s stern (left) and prow(right) tabuiy, coded to be female and male respectively.
MAN, literally translatable to “bird,” the removable images lashed to the tops of tabuiy (dabuiy) on the front and back of every anageg keel. Man are always tied on the watan/katan side of the tabuiy, i.e. opposite the outrigger float. The top, more ornately carved man is lashed to a tabuiy on a boat beached on Wabunun’s landing in 1996. When a boat is not prepared to sail these forms are removed and stored inside the boat-owner’s house. The two in the bottom picture are Dibolel’s belonging to his anageg Bwadanakup. The left one is for the boat’s wowun, base or stern end, the position marked by the tail that drops paralleling the shaft used for tying; one person said the appendage was of the bird called mwag, one used for indicating a nearby island. The birds carved at the top of these two were said to be seagulls, but many people say they should be kioki, kingfishers, birds associated movement between islands and from their infacing positions signaling the back-and-forth movement boats facilitate. On both forms the two birds rest on opposite facing images that are said to be the heads of a bird but my informant could not identify what bird. Like most of the other designs, it is “just carving.”
Kunubwara12002R4 010 The Levanay wowun (“base”) stern distant and close-up kunubwara, literally “headpatch.” Although they may not be on the prow kunubwara, people associated this form with a particular snake, one of half a dozen named creatures. The snake is called mwalek (in Central Muyuw) or mwatalalek (in southeastern Muyuw), probably Boiga irregularis. It is associated with the island Yalab, a myth called Mwatitawag, which in turn makes the being the “decider” or “ruler” of outrigger craft, according to some people. Muyuw associated details of the design and story with one of the two main anageg-producing islands, Kweywata. The snake, mwalek/mwatalalek, is considered extremely strong and with its ability to role or curl itself up some people associate it with tying materials, vatul, which keep outriggers together. One person said this snake’s strength was like good tying materials. The pressures associated with the ways by which kunubwara hold strakes together are part of the association between snake imagery and kunubwara.
Top left: From 2009, my first view of the “feared”–my fear– mwatabwalay (banded sea snake, Laticauda colubrina), according to the systematic literature a highly venomous, neurotoxic, sea snake, the guyau, “chief,” of the ocean. In addition to humans, who are not supposed to kill them, sharks and other sea creatures defer to them, according to Muyuw lore. In this photo Timo Mayal, a young Wabunun man who quickly left our boat when it landed at Eyon, reappeared with this specimen wrapped about his neck. Although our Muyuw crew knew I wanted to see the animals, I was prepared for them to be frightened of them and beat them to death like they do with other snakes. A kakam tree (Calophyllum Inophyllum), whose roots frequently provide shelter for these snakes when on land, stretches behind in the upper third of this photo. Top right: Up close, the mwatabwalay, the guyau, “chief,” of the ocean. Shortly after this picture was taken Timo laid down on the sand and the snake casually crawled away from him towards a sheltered spot the likes of which it was probably seeking when diverted.Bottom left: After crawling over Timo, mwatabwalay, the banded sea snake, moves to its goal. Bottom right: The mwatabwalay with evident bands escaping the sun amidst rocks and roots at the edge of the shoreline trees and sand. These tree roots are not C. Inophyllum.
Bwadanakup, 2006, on its perch, pushed, with great effort, above the wave line, protected from the sun…just like mwatabwalay, the banded sea snake, when it struggles to get out of the sun above the usual wave line. Unless they are visiting from elsewhere, all anageg will be protected from the sun like this. Boats protected like this one probably will not be splashed down with seawater every day to prevent them from drying out. But other boats, as was the case with Levanay in 2002, anageg and middle-sized outriggers, are doused every day.
Land and stars
Boagis village from far southwestern Muyuw, the very southern tip of Nayem. Three trees tower over the village, two kaboum and one meikw/kaymatuw. Although meikw may be found almost anywhere on these islands, kaboum is, factually and conceptually, restricted to Muyuw’s western and northern shoreline. An umon– deposited sand region behind a beach where breakers rarely reach– tree those that are said to grow on Gawa and Kweywata grow on compressed coral limestone near the water and are not considered as good for the important roles wood from this tree plays in the anageg form. People from Gawa and Kweywata regularly come to Nayem to “ask” for its kaboum for their boat-making purposes. Beyond its use as Boagis’s ritual firewood, this tree is part of the isomorphism between the anageg structure and the distribution of trees across the landscape
From 2009, a large vayoun a bit north and west of Kaulay’s present location. The tree is large enough to be turned into an outrigger float. A product of Kaulay’s fallowing system, this tree’s existence is part of the landscape/anageg design structure which defines the eastern side of the Kula as a regional system. Top: Although they emerge as seedlings as soon as a forest is cut, they grow best amidst other flora and are intimately related to the Kaulay-Dikwayas’s region ideal oleybikw, middle aged fallow practice.
Left: From 2009, with Tauneduiy, who claims these trees, a clump of vayoun growing east of Kaulay in a region being kept in a digadag, early fallow state. These trees did not appear to be healthy, and a nearby one seemed to be dying—perhaps related to the tree’s growing circumstances. Right, also from 2009, a vayoun west of Kaulay on one of the paths heading towards Dikwayas. These trees are not yet large enough to be used and may never achieve the necessary girth for anageg outrigger. But growing along the route to Dikwayas, they inscribe one of the circumstances defining the tree, growing in the mixed area between the dryer ground heading down and north towards the sea, and the wetter ground heading south towards the interior of the islands and its higher forests.
From 2002, a crew member of Levanay, with help from Wabunun women, strips the bark off Asibwad (Timonius timon), an early fallow (digadag) tree in preparation for retying Levanay’s outrigger platform. Originally understood as a matter of convenience, in fact the gardening/fallowing practices of southeastern Muyuw villages, like Wabunun, are organized to be able to produce this tree for this purpose.
Top: In 2002 on Wabunun’s beach Levanay crew spread across the outrigger platform to tie down the new asibwad saplings. Asibwad are the top layer of an intricately laminated structure. In this photo it can be seen that the saplings are tied to the pamanag, not the kiyad, the cross beams that connect the hull to the float. Bottom left: Tying the outrigger platform saplings…They are worked from the ends to the center. Here the men are positioned on either side of the duwadul, the structure that attaches the mastmount to the float. Note that duwadul ties are not yet completed. Although the two stakes attaching the end of the duwadul straight into the float have been temporarily tied together, they, and the other two that angle into the float from half way between the end of the duwadul and where it tucks into the boat, are retied after the platform flooring is completed. Bottom right: A close-up of the 2002 patapat tying. Here the pieces are approaching the tanuwag, one of the four kaboum-derived stakes that fix the outrigger float’s position with respect to the hull. It can also be appreciated that the patapat poles are tied so that their “bases” are at the platform extremities, their “tops” tied together in the platform’s center. Typical of much tying on an anageg, these pieces are tied by being pounded into their position with the boat’s tabun, the rock that is likened to an elder generation person. Usually of an igneous stone, in theory these stones travel with a boat from its launching to the end of its life.
In 2012, my friend and teacher, Ogis, stands next to the model anageg he made for me as it is about to be launched. Note the white prow and stern sections. Much of that whiteness was from liquefied lime, and it was understood it would soon wash away were this a real boat. But also note the black spots dotting the white background. These are part of an inverted image of the night that these boats are supposed to depict. These craft connect the ground from which their materials come and which they bind by their very travels, to the heavens whose motions establish orientations in both time and space.