The History of traditional Greek boats
What's a Greek Kaiki? kaiki or Caique is the Greek word which is
taken from the Turkish word (Kayik)/
A name given to wooden boats usually
found among the waters of the Ionian or the Aegean Sea.
These boats were the
mainly used for fishing.
The Kaiki, were built on the foreshore of Nafpigia
(shipyard) . They were built from pinewood. The frame of the craft is called a
skeletos and it's constructed from a curved carvel planking and finished with
the decking known as a katastroma. The colors that are chosen for each part of
the kaiki are chosen with reason.
The frame of the craft is often painted in
orange, to preserve and seal the timber. Most kaki are painted in white, to
counter the powerful sun, the stakes and the topsides are painted in vivid
chromatic colors, the kaiki has a short mast or istos.
A bow sprit or
bastouni is stayed by a skalieri or rigging. In the stern of the kaiki, the
predominant form is
the timoniara or tiller. Sometimes theses wooden
steering arms are carved in the face of an animal.
The kaiki often has a
horizontal windlass mounted over the bow.
The bow is also known as the
proura or plowri.
Below the bow you will find the name of the boat
carved on a tablet, usually they are given ladies names
or you will see
letters representing the Islands of Greece, which give the boat provenance.
For Example, the letter N, stands for Nisi, the Greek word for Island.
Each kaiki is unique. Most Kaiki are built from the boat builder's passion for
the sea and it's their
favorite past time. Kaikis are built from memory
without any plans.
The bow post is what makes the kaiki stand out from the
rest of the Mediterranean working boats.
Kaiki in the past was used as a
means for fishing and trawling but now it has become known as a short excursion
vessel and former fisherman make money from the tourist trade on the Islands.
The Greek Kaiki is an art that is slowly fading away as plastic and
fiberglass replace the wooden craft.
Unfortunately the kaiki is becoming a part of history and Greek tradition.