La Ceiba Cargo Ship: The Keel has been laid

In January 2019 we reached an important milestone - the keel has officially been laid, bolted and secured down. This has been a hugely exciting moment that will go down in the history of Ceiba. All the preparatory hard work of the preceding years has converged to this moment: as the keel is laid, the ship is born. A year ago, these giant timbers where lying rough and whole on the shipyard floor, the Alaskan chainsaw steadily ripping through the dense ironwood fibers. Today, these neatly-cut keel pieces have been tarred-up, slotted into position and bolted down, marking the first day of Ceiba’s construction. From the treehouse office on the Golfo de Nicoya, we can see the full length of Tamarindo del Monte (Dialium Guianese) stretching out at headheight across mounted keel blocks. Its size and scale finally visible in reality as the blue of the Pacific softly laps through bright green mangroves behind.

La ceiba Ship green Ecological La ceiba quilla keel barco de carga cargo

Looking into the next few months, visions are filled with frames, sticking bare and rib-like into the endless blue sky. Currently, we are constructing the staging around the keel to support this next part of the building phase, as the first frames are cut and planned to shape directly intow. This is being done using predominantly cypress wood that has been responsibly-harvested from Monteverde; a part of 400  trees generously donated to the project. These non-native cypresses have been milled-up by one of our newest machines, the trusty WoodMizer. The machine is in action regularly, cutting planks for the small wooden boat constructions, as well as further cross-beams and posts for the staging. ‘Trunnel’ stock is also beginning to be cut up, and as the framing stage-floor continues to be hammered into place, parts of the team are beginning to put the first frames together.

By Shani Meintjes

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