BOAT BUILDERS OF TANAH BIRU
We sailed here specifically to see these traditional wooden boats that were being built on the beach. We did not expect the industry that we saw. The beach front stretched for over a kilometer and all along were beautifully hand crafted wooden boats of various sizes and shapes in different stages of construction. We were allowed to wander amoung the workers, converse with the few that spoke English and take as many pictres as we wanted. What an experience!The interior of the boat (above) was being finished off the beach in Tanah Biru. It was tied to shore and there was an electrical cord strung along the shoreline, at high tide that was fine but at low tide the electrical line was very close to the water. I guess they didn't have to worry about electrolysis eating away at the metal parts of the boat :)One of the bigger boats on the hard, we did not get aboard this one to see whether or not the interior was finished at all.
The workers used a combination of hand and power tools. There were saws, drills and power sanders in evidence. For the shaping of the timbers traditional axes were used and much was done by eye without benefit of measuring tapes.
Father and son working on a lovely ironwood boat. The wood is extremely strong and very heavy. The young man could converse in English and was very helpful, pointing out the spot for us to catch the bemo or taxi to Bira, the next village. The day we left he was very pleased because he had sold a piece of teak to one of the yachties. The piece was the size of the timber in the bottom picture and it was sold for about $30.00 Canadian.
This gentleman was using a bent piece of re bar to find a log that would match the curve he needed to fit one of the spines of the boat.
This is the foundation of a craft, It will probably be a good size, note the large prow in the foreground of the picutre.
These were the smallest crafts with saw and were made out of hollowed logs. It is similar, but smaller, than the canoe we took on our seaweed farming tour.
We went to another village, Bira which had a harbour. This boat had been launched and we clamoured aboard, uninvited.
Here is the bloke that was working on finishing the interior. He was a wood worker and you could tell he was living on the boat, he had a rudimentary kitchen with a wok hanging up and a few supplies, his meager clothing had been washed and hung to dry in the back. The engine had not been installed. We wandered around, there was about 3 inches of water in the bilge, three very dark cabins in the lower deck (no windows). The deck of the roof where I took this picture from had been finished off with concrete!!
One of the yachties was a tall ship buff and had heard that a tall ship had come and done a TV series about the boat builders. He downloaded it off the net and made a CD and asked us to give it one of the boat builders. We watched it first and I managed to copy some of the footage. I am hoping to be able to upload some of it so you can see what a fantastic place this was.