This article was published in the October 24 issue of the Wareham Courier. It is the final part of a three-part series. See video after the jump.
Out on the water, the mishoonash rolled just enough to unsettle an unwary passenger. Slowly, Philip Wynne began to paddle around Eel River Pond, dipping his paddle along one side and then the other in a steady rhythm. A few gulls circled overhead while they looked for something to eat.
The mishoonash was part of the lifeblood of the Wampanoag people, used in everything from trade to fishing, but out on the water it was still apparent that it may have had more in common with Huck Finn's raft than a sleek, modern canoe.
"I think they perform like a car that's got their power steering chopped off," Wynne, a Masphee Wampanoag working at Plimoth Plantation, said. "If you're used to canoes or kayaks, all you have to do is basically the same thing but put a little bit more muscle into it. But these boats really aren't like canoes and kayaks, because they're all made for the ocean,"
As if to emphasize that point, Wynne struck the boat against a fishing weir while taking it out into the pond, taking in a hundred pounds of water. This weight helps to balance the boat when standing up in it to spear a fish or show off for the ladies.