Emperor Harmoni

What is ‘phinisi’?

Emperor Harmoni is our incredible new liveaboard in Indonesia and she really does capture the heart of those who board her.

At 48 metres long and taking just 24 guests, she offers the ideal way to explore the waters of this diverse country and all has to offer above and below the water.

And, despite being our newest member of the fleet, she comes with the weight of history behind her. In descriptions we often refer to her as a ‘phinisi style’ boat.

But what does that mean?

Indonesia, all 17,000 islands of it, has a centuries-old tradition of shipbuilding which has produced some of the world’s most magnificent vessels. Among these maritime wonders, the Phinisi stands as a symbol of Indonesia’s rich maritime heritage, an embodiment of artistry, and a masterpiece of craftsmanship.

The origins of the Phinisi can be traced back to the Bugis and Makassar communities of South Sulawesi. These seafaring people have long depended on these graceful vessels for trade and exploration. Traditionally constructed from ironwood and teak, building a Phinisi is a labour-intensive process that requires a skilled team of craftsmen, often led by a master shipbuilder.

Emperor Harmoni Build

In the case of Emperor Harmoni, it was the legendary Pak Haji Wahab – and his team of skilled carpenters – who worked in traditional fashion right on the beach.

While modern technologies have impacted shipbuilding worldwide, the Phinisi’s traditional methods have remained remarkably unchanged. It’s heartening that many shipyards still adhere to these age-old techniques, preserving the cultural significance and craftsmanship.

The construction typically begins with selecting the finest timbers and painstakingly shaping them into the boat’s frame. The planks are meticulously joined using wooden pegs, eschewing modern nails. The result is a vessel that is not only sturdy but also a true work of art.

Phinisi boats come in various sizes, from small fishing vessels to grand expedition ships. Their versatility allows them to be adapted for various purposes, such as cargo transportation, fishing…and even liveaboard cruises!

Emperor Harmoni

Indeed, recent years have seen Phinisi boats become synonymous with travelling in style around Indonesia’s remote islands and vibrant underwater worlds.

However, the Phinisi is more than just a boat; it’s a testament to the indomitable spirit of Indonesia’s maritime communities, a celebration of craftsmanship, and a symbol of cultural heritage.

They continue to capture the imagination of those who set eyes on its elegant lines and, as it sails into the future, the Phinisi remains a vital link to Indonesia’s past, a testament to the enduring artistry of its builders, and a source of pride for a nation bound by the sea.

Why not find out for yourself what a remarkable liveaboard Emperor Harmoni is and join us for the trip of a lifetime in unforgettable Indonesia? She really is the ideal way to explore the world-famous Raja Ampat region.

Emperor Harmoni

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