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Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Stranded at sea

There are many vessels stranded by the Covid-19 pandemic, including the 19 cruise ships floating forlornly in the harbor at Manila.  There is a well-known sailing ship in search of a port, too, as reported by Old Salt Blog.

But even more unusual is the pretty craft pictured above, the Arka Kinari, the present habitat of some really colorful artists.

The owners are musicians Grey Filastine and his Indonesian partner Nova Ruth, and the seven-strong crew is multinational.  Their original plan was to create a multimedia performance on board a wind-driven craft, with a message about the climate crisis and the health of the oceans. The vessel they envisaged was a traditional pinisi schooner, the boat-of-choice for Bugis pirates.

There are plenty of pinisi around, as you can see from these pictures I took at Semarang, Java, but the innovative couple could not afford the hardwood necessary.  So they ended up buying an old steel-hulled schooner, and rebuilding her in Rotterdam.

As you can see, they managed to replicate the drama and color of the traditional craft.

So off they sailed on their worldwide adventure, producing their multi-media performance in the ports where they paused, using the sails as screens.

The venture stuttered to a halt after leaving Mexico on 21 February.  They headed west, but there was nowhere to stay.  All the islands were closed to travelers.  All they could do was aim for Indonesia, dodging typhoons, and hoping for the crisis to end.

Food, of course, is running out -- but there are fish in the ocean, eagerly caught by one-time Vegans.  And they have managed to grow some little lettuces.  Like all successful castaways, they keep busy, have a roster of work, and foster a sense of community with shared tasks and song.  They are blessed by a common goal, their sense of brotherhood, and effective leadership.

So, in a way, they are carrying out their original mission, but in a most unexpected fashion.

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