The Inuit people, and the invention of the kayak

The Inuit people are a people who have inhabited Greenland for many years. The Inuit community has ingeniously managed to survive pretty comfortably in the harsh environments of the chilly island in the northern hemisphere. In a place where many would find no reason to live there due to the bleak prospects of finding food and habitable conditions, the Inuit people has lived on and continue to thrive.

Greenland is an Island that is for most of the year covered in snow. The waters around the island are however always laden with prey that man can comfortably survive on for food. In the seas around Greenland the waters are inhabited by seals, whales, fish and many other marine species that man uses for food.

The big challenge for the Inuit in ancient times was how to get the fish, seals, and whales from the water. The treacherous water around Greenland are tricky and the risk of drowning is high. The Inuit are however not good swimmers and in any case the icy waters cannot allow one to swim in them. The cold water would quickly kill anyone who tried to swim in it through asphyxiation.

The solution to the problem of venturing into the seas around Greenland was found in the invention of the kayak. The kayak was found to be the best sea touring vessel by the Inuit due to its abilities which include a light small design that makes it very easy to handle, steer and maneuver in all kinds of water conditions.

The kayak is very easy to use as compared to other vessels and it can even be comfortably sailed by a solitary child. The kayak is built such that it does not have an open deck but rather its deck is covered by tight seal skins that are made water tight by whale and seal fat. As such the vessel cannot easily sink even when it capsized. Due to its light weight, an experienced pilot can recover from a capsized kayak by turning the entire kayak.

The kayak is a superior vessel for fishing due to its slender hull which can allow the pilot to access tricky waters where fish like to hide such as enclosed coves. Today there are some modern kayaks that have been highly customized for fishing purposes. Some are even produced to conveniently hold fishing gear such as bait casting reels, the fishing rods and other fishing items.

The lightness and smallness of the kayak makes it very easy to carry from one point to another. This was an important feature for the Inuit people who are nomads and are always moving from place to place. A bulky and heavy water craft would be cumbersome to migrate with but the lightweight kayaks could easily be carried around.

This feature has also made the kayak very popular among water revelers who can travel with the kayak to various destination. In modern times there are advanced kayak designs that are much more portable including the inflatable kayaks, foldable kayaks, and kayaks that can be split into several smaller sizes that re easy to carry.


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