On approaching India you are first greeted by the noble lighthouse at Madras, over a hundred feet in height, which can be seen for twenty miles over the restless waters of the Bay of Bengal. Situated on the open bay and exposed to the fury of the northeast monsoons, Madras was one of the most unprotected spots on the Coromandel coast until the stone breakwater was built, which is composed of a
conglomerate of small stones and cement in the form of large cubes, after the plan adopted by De Lesseps in the construction at Port Said, which forms the Mediterranean entrance of the Suez Canal.
It is interesting
to notice the peculiar structure of the shore boats that are used by the
natives of different lands.
For miles from the coast of India, in the Bay of Bengal, the waters are alive with fishermen's boats that are different from any I have seen.
They are built of three pieces of timber, ten or twelve feet long, tied securely together with cocoanut fibre, the centre one being longer than the others and curved upward at each end.
CATAMARAN FISHING BOATS, MADRAS.
As our steamer was obliged to anchor some distance off shore, a boat was used to take the passengers to the wharf, which is peculiar in construction. It is made of teak, a wood peculiar to India and excellent for ship-building ; the thin planks are sewed together with hide thongs, caulked with cocoanut fibre ; no nails are used, which could not take the place of the yielding thongs, and eight to ten rowers propel the boat with oars shaped like spoons, being strong elastic poles with flat rounded ends securely lashed to them by hide thongs.
Around the World with Eyes Wide Open.
The Christian Herald, New York, 1898.