It turned out that building such a yacht in Indonesia was an immersive cultural experience in itself. “Lamima’s keel was laid on the beat at Bira, south Sulawesi,” recounts Naomi Gerardin, Dominique's wife. “Honouring the ancient boat-building traditions of the Konjo tribe, the keel-laying ceremony includes rituals of prayers, ceremonial sweet rice and incense burning, all of which are carried out in front of the whole village.”
When Lamima was ready for the water, a second ceremonial event took place. “For the Konjo people (who have a strong animistic belief in spirits and life forces) an object as essential as a boat has its own life spirit,” Gerardin explains. “Consequently, its future safety, as well as the health and prosperity of those associated with it, can only be assured by working with this supernatural force. We were lucky enough to witness the launching ritual or bersanji, a ceremony essential to her strength and safety at sea.”
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