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My visit to Bira (2)

My visit to Bira (2)

Poised on a cliff, our accommodation was in harmony with the purpose of our visit: the architect has designed it to resemble a phinisi! From our room we could hear the small fishing boats leaving as early as 4am but it wasn’t until 6am that I rose to view...

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My visit to Bira (1)

My visit to Bira (1)

 In the course of 2012, Dominique visited Bira frequently and had watched with fascination as Lamima took shape. Like him, I have lived her, breathed her, monitored every inch of her progress since her inception but, due to the demands of other aspects of...

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Boat Building on the Beach

Boat Building on the Beach

It all started on a beach in Bira, Sulawesi... On the beach at Bira, in the regency dubbed ‘butta panrita lopi’ (shipbuilders’ kampong), Lamima is emerging in the age-old way of the Bugis boat-builders, skin first! Instead of first lofting frames and...

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Lamima’s Keellaying Ceremony, continued…

Lamima’s Keellaying Ceremony, continued…

Builders of the traditional phinisi lay down the keel first. It is made from ironwood which is resistant to wood borers and considered the prime timber for below-waterline construction. Traditional rituals must be faithfully observed during the choosing...

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Lamima’s Keellaying Ceremony

Lamima’s Keellaying Ceremony

Once you have become involved with life in Bira you realise that religion is an enormously important factor in the lives of the Sulawesi people. The Muslim faith was brought into the region via merchants from India and, by incorporating Persian and Indian...

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Deck-plan and special features of Lamima

Deck-plan and special features of Lamima

In earlier times there was no written agreement for the building of a boat in Sulawesi. The masterbuilder or punggawa had the responsibility of constructing the vessel according to the traditional methods and rites while the buyer outlined any...

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