Photo Friday: A Lesson in Mayan Numbers Using Canoes

Posted by Ted on Jul 1, 2011 in Photography

Last month I found myself in the Yucatan peninsula for the first time, invited to witness the Sacred Mayan Journey, a recreation of a ritual which required worshippers to paddle canoes 17 miles across rough seas from the mainland near Playa del Carmen to what is now the island of Cozumel.

Mayan Canoes

Over 300 dedicated canoeists paddled across the Strait of Cozumel in these traditional dugout canoes. Carved out of massive trees, they are one piece boats with a 3-inch thick solid wood hull.

Their only adornment are simple patterns of dots and dashes along the bow of the boat. They also just happen to be boat numbers, corresponding to the Mayan numbering system. Pictured here are lucky 13, 10, and 7.

(Related pictures can be found here.)

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An adventurer at heart, Ted Beatie is at his happiest when he’s off the beaten path. His deepest passion is sharing the world through photography and writing, found at The Pocket Explorer. He is also managing editor for Rolf Potts' Vagabonding, where he curates a Case Study series. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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