Friday, October 23, 2009

The long tail

Thai boats of all sorts have a very distinctive shape with a long and narrow hull often with an extremely concave curvature sloping up steeply at the bow.  The smaller boats, about 8m long, are used for transport of supplies, fishing purposes, as well as the primary means of beach hoping on all of the islands here in the Gulf.  All of the land is very mountainous and road access is limited if not nonexistent so to get into town or just visit the next beach over requires a jump onto a long tail taxi.  The power for these vessels comes in the form of a massive reconditioned diesel truck engine block mounted on a simple gyroscopic cradle.  A modified 3m long truck drive shaft serves as the shaft for the rotor blade and as a rudder for the boat giving it the appearance of a wagging tail as the driver swings the entire contraption about effortlessly.  It seems Thais take great pride in dressing up their long tail with a bright and colorful paintjob and ribbons, beads, and flowers around the nose of the bow.  It is believed that Buddha sits on the bow of the boat guiding the sailor and ensuring good fortune and the dressings that grace the bow must be as appropriately dignified.  It is considered inappropriate to sit at the very bow of the boat as you would be stealing Buddha’s seat and also rude if you put your feet up on the bow as it is insulting to show the bottom of your feet to Thais.




  1. Nice to See. I will come back again.
    Keep it up.
    Roller Babies International Version

  2. Absolutely fantastic pictures. Envious of the locale, too! :)