It's Scandinavian *vaku < *wako: (strong f.) 'hole or channel in the ice' and its family (borrowed into English, German, Dutch and Frisian), perhaps related to Germanic *wak- 'be awake, watch, etc.' and to *wak-s- 'grow', and hence to PIE h2weg^- 'increase, rise, be strong' (nomen omen, a vast etymological cluster). The connection of the maritime semantic extension with the rest of this word-family is "not impossible", according to the OED, if the freeing of the water from ice is regarded as "awakening". PIE *weg^- 'float' is unknown to me.
----- Original Message -----
From: tgpedersen
Sent: Tuesday, September 24, 2002 1:48 PM
Subject: [tied] Re: Pseudo-cognates

... we might look at Gmc *wa:k-

Falk & Torp: Etymologisk ordbog over det norske og det danske sprog
(float lightly on the waves, of boat or ship; float, of buoy),
Sw. /vaka/ "float easily", in dial. "stay afloat, not sink", Norw.
dial. /vaka/ "stay afloat" (of boat or ship), "appear on the surface
(of water)" (of fish), New Icel. /vaka/ "appear on the surface (of
water)" = Dutch, Low German /waken/ "be dry above water (of banks and
skerries)", "float (of buoy)", cf Eng watch "be afloat (of buoy)"
Further /vager/ "buoy", Sw. /vakare/ = Dutch, Low German /waker/ ...;
cf Nw. dial. /vak/ "buoy on net; school of fish appearing on surface
of water". Apparently /vage/ is the same word as /våge/, the Danish
form due to Low German influence.
Belongs to maritime laguage and was used originally of object that
were visible (as opposed to "blind skerries" etc).

/våge/ "channel in ice for ships", Sw. /vak/ "hole in ice" (dial.
also /väkke/, Nw. colloq. /vok/, Old Norse /vo,k/ f. "opening or hole
in the ice" = Middle Low German /waak/ (Dutch /wak/); cf Nw
dial. /isvekkja/ "breaking up of ice". Engl. wake is borrowed from
Norse. Further /vække/ "cut hole in ice", Sw.
dial. /väkka/, /väkkja/, Nw. dial. /vekkja/. Same word is Sw.
dial./väkka/ "cut chips from fir wood (for tar)", standard Sw. /väcka
ondt blod/ "stir up strife", Nw. dial. /vekkja blod/ "cause blood to
run", /vekkja aar/ "open an aquifer" (also /vekkra/), Old
Norse /vekkja blóD/ and /vøkva blóD/. The last form shows that the
word belongs with Old Norse /vøkvi/, /vøkva/ "humidity,
fluid", /vo,kr/ "humid" = Dutch /wak/, /vo,kna/ "become humid"; cf
Nw. dial. /vekja/ "aquifer in the ground". The verb thus means "cause
to run, float". IE *veg^-

Float, hole, appear?
This all makes me suspect that the original Bronze age use was of the
vehicle of the sun, which was first a boat, later a wain.