Happy Christmas and welcome to this first monthly update on the progress of the Borobudur Ship Expedition. The trip to Indonesia earlier in December was pretty successful and that is currently being followed up with a second visit.
Boat Building Progress
The main achievements of the first trip were the successful location of a reputable boat builder on the Kangean Islands. Work has commenced and a 19m keel has been laid. The boat builder (Pak Assad) is confident he can deliver by our target date of the end of June. We have paid some funds to assist in the purchase of materials, although getting funds through the banking system is not as straight forward as one might imagine.
Nick Burningham did an excellent job in liaising and negotiating the boat construction requirements. He is now back on site in the Kangean Islands and will be there until about the end of February before taking a break.
Barney Broom, with the help of Geoffrey McKell and his colleague Budi got us off to an encouraging start on the filming. We now have some 25 hours of rushes and a 4 minute promotional video clip which is available on CD. The clip has primarily been designed for potential sponsors and for presenting to TV channels and gives a good flavour as to what the expedition is all about.
Progress in Jakarta
Thanks to Tanya Alwi and Dugal Muller we made a very encouraging start to the project on the ground in Jakarta. The Minister of Culture and Tourism (I Gede Ardika) gave the project an enthusiastic reception and wishes to work closely with the project. Apart from being keen to have the vessel returned to Indonesia for its tourism potential, he also thought there was an opportunity to work with UNESCO as the 20th birthday of the restoration of the Borobudur site falls in July. Although the reception we got from the British Ambassador was cool (perhaps not surprisingly in the circumstances), we clearly had an excellent reception from Ardika and this bodes well for our plans. Planning discussions are continuing this week in Jakarta when there will be another round of meetings.
Letterhead and logo
The letterhead and logo is now ready, as evidenced by the top of this newsletter. There is also a small brochure which is in production. The website is under construction and will be launched during the next couple of weeks. A temporary page is currently displayed at the site.
The next major challenge is for sponsorship, equipment and sorting out the team whilst maintaining progress on the boat and developments in Jakarta. In terms of sponsorship, key targets are British Airways, BT, Vodaphone, DHL or Federal Express to name a few obvious ones – so if you can help, do please let me know. In the meantime thanks for all your support and encouragement.