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Phinisi Schooners

I have just returned from Jakarta where I have been working for the last 5 days. We have a lot of Indonesian clients and was delighted to meet one for whom we acted 26 years ago.

While I was there, I took a friend who had not been to Jakarta before down to Sunda Kelapa which is part of the old port area where there are still many old Dutch buildings. Some of them dating back to 1618. Happily, quite a number have been fully restored and give quite a character to this area in the form of museums and other working buildings.

In one section of the port, there are always a considerable number of Phinisi Schooners. These are traditional wooden boats which have been made in the same way for centuries. Many of them are made up in Sulawesi where a master shipwright with no plans other than in his head, lays them out on the beach. Their construction involves the use of extraordinary large pieces of timber with most of the ship building done by hand. Most of the Phinisi Schooners these days have engines, although many still retain sails. They ply their trade between the islands of the archipelago.

Although now they have derricks, much of the loading and unloading is done by way of the plank you can see in the foreground and sacks or other implements carried on the workers’ shoulders.
The photo shows a classic contrast with modern apartment buildings in the background and traditional Phinisi Schooners still in a working port in the foreground.