RAFTS

  At present, there are means of transport which our ancestors could not even imagine! We travel thousands of kilometers in no time! However, long, long time ago people used primitive ways to move from one place to another and more importantly to transport cargos.
  The three main ways for transporting goods are by land, air and water. One of the earliest was on water! People figured out how to put together some floating materials, tie them tight and use them as a boat. The name of this boat is raft. 

  There were various materials which were use to build a raft. For instance, logs, reeds and bamboo! In order to tie them together people gathered palm or vine fibers. The materials vary depending on the geographical place but, one thing is sure, people living in different parts of the world have always been capable of constructing rafts. Of course, none of the ancient rafts survived through time simply because they all had gone rotten. However, we have proof of their existence in the form of drawings in some caves.

  The first use of the raft was for fishing. Fishermen wanted to go farther off the coastlines and used it as a platform. Later, they realized they could transport goods from one island to another on this flat structure. That brought them to the need to improve its poor steering abilities. Poles and ropes were introduced so fishermen could pull and push the rafts in a desired direction. Step by step, they learned how to navigate using the currents and in a short time the paddling method became known too.  Much later, sails were added so the wind could power the raft in order to go faster down the river. Primitive rafts evolved into digout canoes and reed boats which very much resemble kayaks.
  A famous raft is the enormous, built in the USA, Benson raft! It transported lumber goods for more than 1770 km. with its final destination San Diego, California.
  Curious fact is that the same method for transporting lumber was used before that in Italy. Italians used rafts to do so, starting from Turin going down the river Po in order to reach the city of Venice.
  Today rafting is considered to be an exciting outdoor activity that many people enjoy! You should try it one day!

GALLERY

GLOSSARY

log – large section of a fallen tree

reed – plants that grow in wetlands

lumber – the material we get from cut down trees

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