Pulau Kalao – a Boat Builder’s Paradise

“One camera, one roll of film and an intensely beautiful place.

Nikko Karki (c) 2015_-7

We had been island hopping for over a week at this point. After spending most of the day spearfishing near a drop off in bright, turquoise waters, I was interested in seeing the small village on this island. Only Romain, Etienne and I went ashore. I decided to take one roll of film with just one camera and a 50mm lens.

Prau boat building village on Pulau Kalao Key Figures

840 inhabitants, 247 houses, 17 births a year.

A 14-meter prau takes 1 month to build and costs IDR 32 million, about $2,300 USD.

Made from local wood from the island, brought to the beach with the white horse in the photos below.

One man works as the others watch. Using the back of an axe as a hammer, and the axe as a wedge. Chainsaw, electric plane and a drill.

Boats can be used for cargo, fishing and now, even tourism operators have been ordering from other islands.

2 languages: Kalao dialect and Butonese, a south Sulawesi dialect.

Houses on the island cost IDR 30 million, about $2,200 USD

Labor costs are IDR 25,000 per day for a worker, about $2 USD.

Makassar / Butanese people.

There’s a big village across the water, so there’s GSM signal with GPRS Internet, sometimes.

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