These boats are thousands of years old, they are handmade, also called Caballitos de Totora, these are used by the fishermen of Huanchaco, one of the most important spas in the city of Trujillo in northern Peru. It is a kind of boat whose construction is based on reeds which remains intact to the present for generations.
Materials to make a Caballito de Totora
The main raw material for the construction of these boats are the stems of totora, which is cultivated in Huanchaco by dedicated farmers in one of the busiest resorts on the northern coast of Peru.
These fields of reed or totora reed fields are located in semi-deep pools known as Huanchaques or Balsares, which have enough moisture for the production of this important reed whose scientific name in Schoenoplectus Californicus.
After the harvest of the totora, it is left to dry for 20 days, then it can be used in the construction of the Caballitos de Totora.
what is it for?
The totora boats are used mainly in fishing and are formed in 4 parts. Two of them, the longest, are called mothers, while the other two are smaller, but thicker they are called sons. In such a way the fisherman and his assistant join them and tie one on top of the other until the boat is completed and thrown into the sea almost immediately.
The two parts or canes also called mother, are fastened with the tyrant (a thin soguilla) each in the opposite direction of the other are rolled in this way they are adjusting the fibers of totora with the force which uses the fisherman, of this In this way they are tightly joined and fastened, this same procedure is carried out with the children canes.
Then the children canes are mounted on the mothers applying a certain pressure on the part of the fisherman. The goal is to perfectly fit each strand in this way, remaining as a compact package on the mother canes.
This name "mother canes" is born consequently to the function that these canes perform mainly when they are held and the pressure of the canes sons which go in the superior part. In this way, the mothers widen a little giving the feeling that they give shelter to the children or canes children.
It depends on the skill of the fisherman and the assistant the time of assembly of a craft boat, in this way based on it the assembly times are obtained from half an hour to an hour.
Conforma is advanced with the construction is noticing the traditional way of the totora horse, first, you work on one of the sides and then conclude with the other taking into account special care the size of the box of the boat that should be the same between one and another.
This space, called the box, is located on the stern side, where the fishing and the boat's rigs will be placed to help the fisherman carry out his task. The adjustment that is made with the pulley is very important, a second adjustment of both rods is made until they are firm and perfectly joined.
As for the bow or tips of the boat also take special care to be very tight in this way giving a slight curve concave from the middle of the boat to the bow, this form is achieved with blows that tip the fisherman to this part of the Caballito de Totora.
The final union
This union of the two sides is called as the "enganguanada" which is the adjustment of the two parts of the boat with the use of a thicker soguilla than the tyrant, known by fishermen of Huanchaco as "guangana" is in this part where artisans use more strength in this way to give more tension to the mooring.
The useful life of a Caballito de Totora goes in relation to the use and type of fishing that is used. It can be 15 days or a month even.
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