In 2008 I returned to Ile à Vache in Haiti to build a boat using only local skills and materials
For the keelson a tree was cut three days after a full moon, as tradition demands
Oblit Laguerre, the shipwright, shaped the frames with his machete.
For strength, all frames were made of naturally curved tree trunks and branches
Everything was done with hand tools. There was no electricity on the island
Oblit's cousin Montraye filling the seams with rags and beeswax
Nico, by then a maritime engineering student in Berkeley, came to the island and drew...
The first accurate lines plan of a Hatiian sloop
On the mainsail two artists from Jacmel, Macartí and Papouche, painted a Sankofa, a mythical West African bird.
Island artist Morís did the lettering. Ayiti is the correct spelling of the country's name
The launching of the Sipriz. The name means surprise in Kreol
The Haitian crew: Oblit Laguerre, Gracien Alexandre and Manis Samedy
Out destination was Florida. We followed the route of Haitian "boat people" who try to reach the US
Gracien and Manis are fishermen, and know a lot about catching, and strangling, Mahi-mahi
There's much prejudice against Haitians in the Bahamas, and clearing in took time.
The Sipriz at anchor in the Exumas, proudly flying the Haitian flag
The Sankofa followed the slave ships, and returned to Africa to inform the families left behind
We reached Florida after six weeks at sea