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Bali Traditional Fishing Boat

March 14, 2012 by staff 

Bali Traditional Fishing Boat, The colourful traditional fishing boats that line the coastal shores of Jimbaran and Sanur are known as jukung. These graceful vessels use only one main cloth sail and in favourable winds can skim them ocean’s surface at a fairly rapid pace.

The Balinese generally use jukung for fishing. These boats will venture out into the coastal waters in the evening and return with their catch before sunrise to sell at local seafood markets. However, the impact of tourism has meant that many of the island’s traditional fishermen can now supplement their limited incomes by taking paying passengers to surf and snorkel at offshore reefs and neighbouring islands.

Most jukung are fairly small and this enables them to be hauled out of the water and parked on the sandy beachfront with relative ease. With an average length of approximately 5-metres and width of just 1?½ -metres, a jukung can safely carry only two or three passengers. Larger models built using the same traditional design methods, utilize outboard motors and can carry divers and heavy scuba equipment to coral reef dive sites. Some entrepreneurial owners have even modified their jukung into glass bottom boats for visitors to view Bali’s amazing underwater marine life.

Although jukung may appear simple enough to the international travellers’ eye, like most things in Bali there is an underlying symbolism associated with these craft and they are constructed following a strict set of religious guidelines. When a fisherman decides to build a new boat he must first carefully choose the tree that will be used for its timber. The Balinese prefer to use the wood from the indigenous Belalu or Camplung tree, which is light, strong and ideal for boat building. Such a tree can only be cut down on an auspicious date in accordance to the ancient Balinese calendar and a special day is also sought for construction to commence. All members of the local fishing community offer their carpentry skills to construct a new jukung and this social interaction is a vital element of the Balinese Hindu culture.

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