We are considering putting together an expedition to retrace the tradiing routes of the Chontal Maya of the Tabasco region in Southeastern Mexico. The Chontal are the descendants of the Olmec, who might have been or at least were influenced by pre-Columbian Africans. The Chontal regularly circumnavigated the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean as far as Venezuela along the coasts of Mexico, Central and South America.
The concept is to replicate split log sailing canoas, the design of which is shared between the Southeastern United States, West Africa, the UK and Mexico. It is a safe and simple but efficient two masted sprtisail rig. The canoas are dug-outs with two to four planks bullt up along the top of the trunk. The dug out log is cut into two sides with a small keel placed between the two log halfs adding stability and directional assistance.
After the canoas are constructed and the route decided, those active in the project will schedule their times aboard and assist in rowing and sailing the canoas either North along the coast of Mexico and the United States or South around the Yucatan Peninsula and on down Central America to Venezuela.
We would want to video this voyage from our 40-foot trimaran and hopefully use this voyage to promote study of African maritime influences before the coming of Columbus.
The project should not cost a lot, the building of the canoas, provisions and transportation, video production, travel arrangements and coordination. It could be done as a time share cooperative or club type of project.
What do you think?