Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Phinisi Liveboard for Diving Trips

Liveaboard is a common term in marine tourism where travelers stay in a boat for several days on a diving tour to several islands whose underwater world is still in pristine condition. The invention of  steel and welding eliminated the use of wood in the construction of big ships. Today the hulls of giant cruise ships, tankers and cargo vessels are completely made of steel. Only some part of decking and significant portion of the interior that still use wood. Naval architecture still use wood in big ships because of aesthetic reason. A lot of modern ships still have tables, beds and wardrobe that are made of wood.
The operation of liveaboards in coral reef areas such as the ones in Raja Ampat and Iris Strait of Kaimana regency must not harm the marine environment that thrive underwater. Boat operators must not release their anchors on the reef. 
FRP and GRP as composite material for boatbuilding are mostly used in small to medium size boats. In tourism industry where speed and time is not an important issue, the use of wood in cruise boats is very high. Wood gives more classic look and beauty to cruise boats. Liveaboards, for example, are mostly built from wood. Liveboards are boat that are designed and built for tourists. In Indonesia, liveaboards are mostly used in diving tours. Scuba divers stay in the wooden boats for around 1 week during the dive tour that brings them to several remote islands whose coral reefs are still in pristine condition. The most famous type of wooden boats in the liveaboard tours is the phinisi boat. FRP is still used to improve the watertight property of deck, and hulls in wooden boats.

Phinisi is a type of schooner constructed by boatbuilders in South Sulawesi. They usually have got 2 masts for sails. Hobbyists like to build ship models based on schooner type. There are a lot of website that provide wooden ship models or sailing ship kits to people who want to have the miniature of schooner boat at their homes. 
However, the Phinisi schooneder that I am discussing in this post is a real type of boat that is increasingly popular in the diving industry in Indonesia. From my interview with an American diver who likes traveling with phinisi boats in several diving trips in Raja Ampat, Cendrawasih bay, Maluku, and Lombok, he said that he has never seen the crew of the boat use the sails. The boat use marine diesel engine as its main driving power. Because liveaboards need more electricity to run at least two air compressors at the aft deck at the same time, the number of generators that are installed in the boat is two sets. The most comfortable cabin in a liveaboard is on the first deck or the bottom deck. Guests can sleep and enjoy the cruise without experiencing rollings. Today, many phinisi liveboards have got full AC rooms and private toilet for guests.
As a tour guide, I had the opportunity to explore the rooms of a liveboard after finishing my rainforest tour with 4 American tourists last June. I live phinisi boat because it looks classicaly beautiful at sea. I hope that I can operate one - one day. by Charles Roring