I was born in Balikpapan , Indonesia and the double outriggersailing canoe from Bali dates back to the very first boats that would spread around and populate the Pacific so it’s a double strike of sorts.
Traditional Jukung are fast dissapearing with new ones built out of fibreglass and without the distinctive shape and features inspired by the Gajah Mina. The Gajah Mina or mythical elephant headed fish is the protector and transport for Varuna the Hindu God of the oceans when he inspects his teritories.
Balinese believe that the Gods reside in the mountains and sky and the evil spirits lurk in the sea. The Gajah Mina with its big eyes and ears can detect them and if needed take them on with his tusk if they come and look for trouble and want to harm Varuna.
I’ve built a Jukung before, in 1993 and sailed it from Bali to Tanimbar in the Maluku’s over 15 years, a magical adventure that got me close to the sealife and the many diverse cultures that inhabit the Indonesian Archipelago.
Having covered only a small portion of the 17000 islands that make up Indonesia I want to attempt to cover a few more.
With a maximum beam off 47 cm I can’t afford to put on any more weight but then with a sail and paddle as propulsion will give me enough of a workout to lose what is in excess now. A one burner stove, a jerrycan of rice, fish I can catch and vegies when available will not make me gain weight either.
Navigation is basic as well with the sun and stars to guide me.
The means are minimal but the rewards are maximum, being able to get to the smallest islands with the shallow draft of a Jukung and to get up close and personal with the people that live on the edge of paradise and the promise of untold adventures …