PT Ombak Putih, the operators of Ombak Putih and Ombak Biru - two luxurious traditional phinisi sailing vessels offering scheduled departures to the islands east of Bali, have recently launched a very special fleet of miniature sailing vessels to help raise funds for The Komodo Foundation. The Foundation is an independent, non-profit and non-governmental body working in the fields of education and environmental awareness with special emphasis on assisting the coastal and maritime peoples of Komodo and Flores.
The Small Phinisi Fleet
To help celebrate Indonesia's proud heritage as a sailing nation and in order to raise much needed funds for The Komodo Foundation, the public is being offered a chance to own a miniature phinisi wooden schooner, ready for a local christening party and launched on its own world cruise. The small boats, made of wood and each bearing a commemorative plate with a unique registration number, are on sale for Rp. 100,000 each (approximately US$10.20).
Hundreds of the small phinisi wooden boats, whose design is inspired by the traditional Bugis wooden schooners still operating across the Indonesian archipelago, are now set to be launched into seas around the world. Each original purchaser is designated the "First Captain" whose personal details, including launching date and location will be catalogued on the www.indonesiancruises.com web site.
The vessels – many hand-painted by their skippers and bearing messages of peace and hope – will set course on cruises, determined solely by the winds and currents that will see them potentially crossing oceans and touch new continents along the way. Anyone finding a boat on a distant shore will have the opportunity to record its arrival on the web site and consider becoming its second or subsequent captain by re-launching the boat on its continuing voyage.
An idea, with the potential of resulting in the launch of the world's largest sailing fleet, the miniature phinisi sailing fleet offers a new twist on the ancient message in a bottle tradition and the excitement of watching the world connect, possible only in this age of the Internet.
Individuals and organizations wishing to acquire a boat and launch it in their name, or the name of a loved one, can contact the project's founder, Ms. Marsye La Roque, at Indonesia Cruises via the e-mail contact below.
Shown on balidiscovery.com is, left to right, Nyoman Kirtya of Grand Komodo Tours, Maryse LaRoque of Indonesian Crusies holding two of the miniature ships, and Greg Heighes of Dive Komodo.
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