We admit. Our story is as different as our boat. And there is no other boat quite like BIGKANU anywhere in the Google-sphere.
So in principle, our story is simple. We had a relatively simple aim. FIND THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACE ON EARTH, AND TAKE PEOPLE THERE ON BOATS. So we did just that, and we do just that.
We come from a long background in sailing exploration, crossing the Indian Ocean, exploring the Caribbean, hunting all through Asia, and living for years on the ocean. Out there in cruising-yacht-ville, there is a community of adventurous boaties, who are the self selected, lucky folks, who genuinely get to see the best planet earth can offer. They of course intersect, meet up, share stories, maps and pictures, and spend years travelling where few, ever get to see.This is our family.
So in pursuit of the most beautiful places on earth, we had to rate and compare a lot of places. Here’s a list for example.
North end of Palawan, Philippines.
The karst coast SE of Phuket.
Seychelles/ La Digue.
All of the Indonesian archipelago, with special attention to the Togean islands, Rote, and Banda Neira.
Anyway, the list goes on and on, and we went to all of them, looking for the most ‘wow’ natural destination that Gaia has on offer.
And the hands down winner was Raja Ampat. Nothing competes.
So we did Raja Ampat recce missions in big dugout canoes, many years back, exploring these amazing islands in a little thatched canoe cabin, a kero stove, a 1inch mattress, and local fisherman as captain/cook. And we were gob-smacked.
So we then reinvigorated our plans for a radical boat, that will built with NASA materials, but was infact a reinterpretation of the islander, fishing canoe, with outriggers. We hired all manner of these fishing canoes, all over the planet, and became a convert. Prior to the outrigger canoe idea, we came from a long line of traditional, ocean sailing yachts, some of which were absolutely gorgeous, but back in 1987, when motoring in the calms, across the equator from Australia to Africa, it dawned on us, that lugging 7 tonnes of lead in a keel, is a really dumb idea, and it wastes fuel, slows you down, and there is no way a simple island fisherman would ever dream on using 7 tonnes of lead as ballast, when a few kilos of outrigger float will do. Basically, we made a statement in our boat saying, hey you dudes in your yacht clubs around the world, we disagree with the yacht idea, we are going to go the way of boaties for the last 2000 years, and have a slim hull, with outriggers.
One thing we look on at, with disdain, is the Indonesia phinisi schooner, which is basically a bulk carrier converted into a hotel, with a pork belly hull full of river stones, to keep it from capsizing…a totally stupid idea in terms of ocean efficiency, and when those phinisis want 250 to 350 euros per night vs BIGKANU at 165 Euros, the big reason is the fuel needed to push these pork bellies full of stone ballast, through the ocean.
We contacted the designers like Nigel Irens, who motortrimarans held world circumnavigation speed records for a decade. We worked for months, paying $50,000 in fees to Australia’s best fast ferry design team ( one2three.com.au ) in designing amazing motor trimarans like this… www.trybrid.org .
It took us near on 5 years of saving and working, plus selling our home, plus 18 months living in a $15 a night hotel in Surabaya or 18 months, to fund then build the Bigkanu.
So the BIGKANU story is one of passion, sweat and innovation. We didn’t just get an idea, and go buy a boat.
We are more that just a boat story, however, as for us, Raja Ampat is to be our home.
There is only one expat with a private island home in Raja Ampat, and we are about to be the second. There are resorts sure, but we are pioneering the idea of integrating with a lovely island community, contributing with training help, building a boat base and a few other on-water building as investors, and living the life that’s half white Papuan, and half a black ‘bule’ ( foreigner).
So when you come aboard Bigkanu, you become part of a unique ongoing story, of weird and wonderful boats, passionate people, and mad dreamers whose dreams are like rubber that hits the road.