Monday, May 12, 2008

Maine Jukung

The jukung is a dual-outrigger sailing canoe of Indonesia. Built dugout-style, most jukungs have a fascinating, decorative bifurcated stem extension that often resembles the wide-gaping mouth of some creature. They sport a variety of rigs, most having two booms set on a very short stub mast and some similarities to a lateen rig. One of their most distinctive features is the massive but graceful outrigger booms (i.e., the sticks that hold the floats), often with a kind of gull-wing curve to them. The curved ends are pegged and lashed to a center section that spans and is itself lashed to the hull.

I've been struggling through Outrigger Canoes of Bali and Madura, Indonesia (Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum Special Publication) By Adrian Horridge (Bishop Museum Press, Honolulu, 1987), so was vaguely familiar with the type, when I was surprised to see one beside Route 1 in coastal Maine, sitting in front of a teak furniture importer/retailer in Newcastle. I stopped and spoke to the store's owner: he travels regularly to Bali and nearby islands on buying trips, and he picked up this canoe from a fisherman who was replacing it with a new one -- seems there was some rot in the hull which made it less than ideal as a fishing boat, but didn't impair its value as a roadside attraction.
In addition to fishing, jukungs are now used as "dive boats" in the tourist trade, bringing scuba divers out to attractive settings.

The photo was kindly placed in the public domain by a contributor to Wikipedia -- this one's in Indonesia, not Maine.

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