• Magic, Wooden Nails and a Very Large Hammer!

    Wooden Nails

    Building Big Boat was labour intensive, to say the least.  We had an industrious group of nail makers consisting of anyone who dropped by to have a chat. The rule of the shed  was that if you popped in, you were given a block of iron wood and an axe.  It seemed that everyone in the village just loved whittling! I was the only exception to this rule.  The thought of me wielding one of the axes made the crew a tad anxious!

    Magic Uri Geller Style!

    In another corner of the boat yard, Pak Gandy had started his magic.  He had lashed two boards together to a tree and anointed them with his magic potion, water and palm oil. A a smoldering fire was lit  in a pit beneath them. At the other end of the boards were palm logs providing the weight to gently twist the boards through ninety degrees.  The fire was kept going 24 hours and each day the planks would twist a little more. Our Pak Gandi was a regular Uri Geller!

    Screwing and Gluing

    Meanwhile the main crew were now fastening the hull planking to the keel, transom and main rib.  The edges of the boards were drilled at regular intervals, a generous dollop of epoxy was rammed in the holes followed by hand crafted nails. Corresponding holes were drilled and filled with glue.  Then the two parts were gently introduced to each other with the assistance of an incredibly large hammer!

    Noah’s Tool Box!

    The bit that floored me the most though was the tool box.  With the exception of an electric drill and a chain saw, they had the same tools that could have come from my great grandad’s shed! I think there may have been a tape measure somewhere, but I never saw it.

    Big Boat was starting to take shape.  The twisted boards were cut to shape and fitted up against the prow and all of a sudden, a mad collection of hewn trees and telegraph poles started to look seaworthy.

    Next time – “They Grow Them Like that!”

     

  • Boat Building in the Jungle

    Pak Gandy sketching in the sand.

    Meet Pak Gandy, The Boat Building Guru!

    Welcome to the third installment of boat building Balinese style!

    The wood had been cut, prime binkarai planks had been delivered, plans had been drawn and approved and the boat yard in the jungle constructed……Enter the boat builders with three lengths of old telegraph pole, gallons of epoxy resin and a tool box donated by Noah!

    The question had to be asked.  What were the telegraph poles for?

    Re-claim, Re-cycle, Re-use!

    I should have known.  These were to be the backbone of our boat, the keel and prow.  Why telegraph poles? Because they are old seasoned iron wood and nigh on indestructible.  Having explained these salient points to me, our magnificent boat builder then squatted down with a pointy stick in hand and drew a large semicircle in the dirt.  He then looked me right in the eye and said assertively,

    “Like This!”

    What does one say? It turns out that he had just drawn the profile for the main rib of Big Boat, right where the central outriggers are. This was the piece around which all the planking would be bent.  I just nodded my head and let him get on with what he did best.

    Handy With His Chopper!

    The next thing I knew, he had a great baulk of timber propped up and was wielding a razor sharp axe, forming perfect joints which when completed went snugly together like pieces of an incredible three dimensional jigsaw.  I had heard of craftsmen like Pak Gandy, but to watch him and his team in action was a pure pleasure.

    As we were about to leave the boatyard, I noticed a rather large hole in the ground just next to a tree stump.  Pak Gandy’s merry men were dumping all the wood chips in there.  Pak Gandy grinned at me, pointed to the pit and whispered,

    “That’s for the magic!”

    It seems that boat builders come from Hogwarts!

    Next time – Magic, deadly potions, wooden nails and a very large hammer.

  • Come Up With A Plan! Designing Big Boat.

    Come up with a plans
    Come up with a plans

    Grand Designs.

    Made the Mad Axeman and the Timber Haulers had done their thing so the next step was to come up with a plan! Some serious designing was required. Suggestions came thick and fast. A stronger, longer ladder. A loo with a view. A captain’s chair. Even a water slide! You name it, it was suggested.

    So after scrapping some of the less practical suggestions, out came the set squares, protractors and sharp 2H pencils and the drawing commenced. Now I may have mentioned that my knowledge of boat building was limited to something you could fold from paper and float in the bath, as a result, the task of designing a sodding great 15 metre wooden boat was somewhat daunting.  Nevertheless, after a couple of weeks and much head scratching, a reasonable facsimile of a set of plans were produced.

    Construction Crew Consultation.

    Meanwhile, Pak Nyoman had found our trusty boat builder, the incredible Pak Gandy.  We were formally introduced and I humbly submitted my design.  The boat captains, led by Pak Lombang, boat builders and various hangers on all peered at the plans and there was a long silence. The suspense was killing me. Cigarettes were passed round, cups of coffee consumed, various aspects of the design were pontificated over and, after what seemed an eternity there was a mass nodding of heads. At last the verdict was pronounced.

    “Bagus!”

    Then the plans were neatly folded and …….never, ever looked at again!

    Boatyard in the Jungle.

    There just remained the question of where the boat would be built.  For some unfathomable reason, the location for our boatyard was in the jungle, nearly 200 meters from the sea!  I did question this choice but was reassured that this was a very fortuitous site, approved of by the deities of boat builders.

    There was one other slight problem.  Because rainy season was in full force,  workers, timbers and tools would soon end up soaking wet and like my wet suit, ever so slightly mouldy! So a suitable tent had to be built.  Therefore the greenery was cut back, bamboo sacrificed to the cause and a spidery structure was erected, covered in canvas and lashed to nearby trees. Finally the finishing touch was the installation of the temple and that was it, we were ready to go!

    In our next thrilling instalment, “Pak Gandy scribbles in the sand!”

  • Building Big Boat, “TIMBER!”

     

     

     

    Cutting wood for for the frame

    How To Build  A Boat!

    When we bought World Diving in 2005 we knew that the original Big Boat was getting close to retirement age and that a new boat would have to be found.  This was evident by a couple of facts.  First, the water in the bilge was slopping over the deck boards! Second, the daylight that could be seen through cracks in the hull!

    After much scratching of heads and long discussions we decided to build a new one!

    We consulted our expert in all things boat like, Pak Lombang and he said,

    “Kayu! Harus adah kayu kuat! Saya adah banyak!” Loosely translated this means, you need strong wood. I have lots in my garden. What he failed to mention is that it was still alive and growing!

    The Hunt for Wood!

    So, Pak Made was sought after as he had the largest chain saw on the island. This thing was a beast!  It had a blade over a metre long with the most vicious chain you have ever seen.  This was the Mad Max of island saws!

    So off we ventured into the jungle, also known as Pak Lombang’s garden. At this stage, Sue and I were having qualms about hacking down trees, but we were assured that these trees were on Pak lombang’s land and had been planted with boat building in mind.

    Suitable trees were identified and duly dispatched by Made’s rusty Stihl.  Then came the truly terrifying part. Making sure that he had his protective footwear firmly in place, flip flops with a thick sole, and his eye protectors on, copy RayBans from Kuta, Mad Made started sectioning the trees into suitable lumber.  This involved standing on the tree trunk and using this vast chain saw with a somewhat loose chain to saw thick baulks of wood with his feet either side of the cut. At this stage we walked away!

    Needless to say, everyone else was perfectly comfortable with the levels of health and safety being followed by our heroic hacker and Made even proudly showed off his ten toes at the end of the day!

    Finally, all the required wood had been cut and sectioned and was then stacked up to dry for a month. Then came the next challenge.

    “Pak John, we need a plan, design the boat!” an interesting concept as my boat building expertise to date had involved nothing more challenging than playing Pooh Sticks!

    In the next thrilling installment, “Shipyard in the Jungle,” Johnny Makes A Plan!

  • Beat the Winter Blues and Splash into the New Year

    Tired of the dark grey winter mornings? Desperate for some sunshine and scuba dives? Planning to make a new years resolution to dive more? Planning to take your next level of PADI Course? We are here to help! Dive with World Diving Lembongan during February and March and we’ll give you an instant 10% discount!

     

    Christmas turtle

     

    That’s right, we are offering 10% discount on our daily dive trips, dive and stay packages and PADI courses.

    There is no better time to dive with us than through the winter! Did you know this is also when the water temperature is at its warmest and the dive sites are quieter meaning incredible marine life encounters without other divers!

     

    Jukung Balinese World Diving

     

    Are you an Indonesian National or expat living in Indonesia? Combine your WNI / KITAS 10% discount with our winter savings discount for a massive 20% off trips, courses and packages!

    Pondok-baruna-Sea-view-beach

     

    See you soon in sunny Nusa Lembongan.

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