For good luck: Balinese well-wishers sprinkle water on the Kona as part of a Hindu ritual to assure the safety of the boat’s journey. Sailor Wahyu Pramacipta Wondowisastro planned to set out in the boat on a journey through the country’s eastern waters on Sunday. (JP/Anggara Mahendra)
Similar to his previous sailing journey from California, the United States, to Benoa, Bali, Indonesia, the 54-year-old adventurer will travel alone in this latest sea expedition, called Kembara Bahari: Lintasan Timur Jangkar Leluhur (Kembara Bahari: A Voyage to the Ancestral Eastern Line).
“Arriving in Bali from California, I had always wanted to continue sailing around the world. But arriving here, I am also intrigued to learn more about the culture of the eastern Indonesians and the origins that have made Indonesians deeply rooted in maritime culture,” said Rama a day prior to his Sunday morning departure to the first stop in Sambelia, Lombok.
On Saturday, a ritual to release Rama and his Kona boat was led by pemangku (temple priest) I Nyoman Bakti of the Banjar Kelan Abian, Kelan village, Tuban district.
“This Hindu Balinese ritual is basically to ask for the Ida Batara Dalem Segara to protect Rama throughout his voyage,” said Bakti. The rituals include delivering prayers and offerings of fruits, flowers, live chickens and live ducks to the Karang Tengah underwater temple, located about 10 minutes from the Bali Marina.
“This is a voyage of discovery for him. We are supporting his solo voyage because we also hope to revive this nation’s spirit of a maritime culture that has been diminishing and has almost been forgotten due to other developments on land.
“We are a seafaring nation, as always, which is demonstrated in our traditional folksong “Nenek Moyangku Seorang Pelaut” (My ancestors were sailors). This voyage is to remind Indonesians of their original cultural roots,” said Natalia Soebagjo, founder of the Indonesian Pluralism Foundation, the main sponsor of Rama’s voyage, which is estimated to cost Rp 5 billion (US$540,000).
The voyage has so far received funding support from private companies, as well as the Education and Culture Ministry and the Indonesian Navy, and is still attempting to raise additional funds to assist the journey.
Throughout his voyage, which has been scheduled to finish on Nov. 4, 2012 in Benoa, Bali, Rama will have made 28 stops along the country’s vast deep oceans around Flores, Banda and Maluku.
“We have carefully chosen these 28 spots based on the trails of the ancient spice trade, as well as the spread of traditional garment heritage and artifact findings,” said anthropologist Toha Masyhur, who is involved in the selection of Rama’s stopover locations.
Rama is the first Indonesian solo voyager to have sailed 10,000 nautical miles (around 18,520 kilometers) for 10 months and 27 days from Oakland Beach, California to Bali. He first set foot on Bali Marina in Benoa in April last year.