Ancient Skiff discovered! Randy Shots had an amazing discovery after Hurricane Irma struck the Indian River, a dugout canoe. Randy says he’s notified the Florida State Dept of Historical Resources. Randy feels this belongs to the people of Florida, and is hoping the skiff will be preserved and exhibited in the future. We are so grateful Randy was there as it was sitting by the side of the road to be picked up by the county with all the other storm debris and placed in a landfill. Look closely and you’ll see where fire was used to help make the wood easier to chip away the cockpit section of the skiff. Fire also seals the wood and makes the skiff less porous.
You can see fire in the skiff photo below on the top of the bow.
Skiff History in Florida
Dugout canoes and skiffs date back to the Calusa Indians. This amazing indigenous native american tribe where a true skiff loving people. Without metal tools, these inventive people still became master skiff builders. Most of the Calusa skiffs were around 15′ and used in Florida’s lakes, rivers and protected bays. The Southern Yellow pine was the standard building material, with the sap aiding in burning the inside of the log to create the skiff’s cockpit. These ancient skiffs could accommodate three or four hundred pounds of goods and travel at a walking pace moved by one man with a long paddle or pole.
Pine deteriorates fast unfortunately so it’s great when a Cypress skiff canoe is found as this species of wood can last centuries given their native environment is Florida’s swamp. Florida’s museums offer Dugout Canoe rentals…if you are in the area we’d highly recommend a visit. More information can be found here: https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/rentcanoes/