In 1989 crews from New Zealand, Australia, United States, Britain, Japan, France, Germany, The Netherlands and Indonesia sailed nine Jukungs (also called Cadik) from Bali to Darwin, across the Timor Sea, a distance of a thousand nautical miles. The journey took three months and was organised and documented by Bob Hobmann in a film titled “Passage out of Paradise”. National Geographic Society featured it as “The Great Jukung Race”. The Jukung, an Indonesian outrigger canoe, dates back to around five thousand years. Hence, the route from Bali to Darwin was planned to follow the ancient Austronesian sailing routes.
The movement of people by boat across South East Asia has been a catalyst for change and development of civilisations. It brought about the meeting of many cultures through trade. Rice found its way from China to Indonesia. Hinduism and Buddhism from India. Islam is believed to have been brought by Arabs in the ninth century. Followed later by the European colonials. But that is history. Indonesia is now one of the leading economies in the world and the largest economy in South East Asia. As two thirds of its territory is water, Indonesia relies heavily on sea transport to connect the country. This is why ship production has been increased. About seven thousand are manufactured every year.
Newer types of sea going vessels continue to enter the waters. But the mighty Jukung, which has witnessed better days, continues to remain an important element in the daily life of the islanders.
If one travels to Benoa Harbour, Sanur, Padangbai, Amed and up north along the coast, one can see these graceful boats bobbing on the water or neatly arranged on the beach. They are made of wood, painted in bright colours and given names like The Deep, Fish Boat, Albatross, Pleeper and Suara Negara. The sails are triangular in shape and are of different colours. Eyes are carved on each side of the bow. The width of the boat is fairly narrow and can seat only one person per row. Outriggers help to balance the boat and keep it from capsizing. It is also powered by an outboard motor (modern addition). Sometimes due to squalls or heavy rain the fisher folk do not go to sea.
The versatile Jukung is used by the locals for fishing (mackerel and lobsters), transporting local people and goods to nearby islands and by small groups of scuba divers.
During religious ceremonies these boats ferry the faithful out to sea so that they can perform certain rituals
Go on a WakaSailing trip by catamaran (descendent of the mighty Jukung). Board the craft from Benoa Harbour and sail leisurely in luxury to Lembongan Island an hour and half away across the Badung Strait. Throw a fishing line and try your luck at catching some fish while being served coffee, tea, pastries and fresh fruits. On arrival at Lembongan head to WakaBeachClub for a super day of indulgence, great food and wide range of ocean recreational activities.
Bali never ceases to amaze…