Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Shipboys from Skipper Bontekoe

De Scheepsjongens van Bontekoe.
In 1924 Johan Fabricius did write the book about -the shipboys from Skipper Bontekoe- on the Nieuw-Hoorn. a sailing vessel from the VOC.Based on true journals from the VOC (Dutch East India Company) three boys (Hajo, Padde and Rolf) are sailing to the East and learning to stand up for themselves on board. As youngsters the crew is trying them out, but they learn quick. After an explosion on board they had to survive on a raft and have to find their own way from Sumatra to Batavia. Meeting tribes, unknown dangerous animals and a lovely native Oriental girl.

coconuts and a nipa hut
This week the film was first showed in theaters nationwide. When I was young I have been reading this book dozens of times. And again and again I was part of the crew and experienced scurvy, storms and had to survive the humidity of the tropics.

Oriental Flower, ByebyeButterfly
The VOC was the first multinational in the world. More than 10000 journeys were made to the East to load profitable spices and pepper.
The Batavia replica in Lelystad was used to make the recordings for the movie.. Also recordings were made in Australia and Litouwen.
The real Batavia did shipwreck in Western Australia. And years ago when I was in Fremantle I saw the remains of it in the Maritime Museum.

My father was also a Skipper/ Captain most of his life. Starting as the early age of twelve, he first went to sea. Later on he became a master and did sail all around the Globe for over forty years.
Just like Bontkoe he did took many nice and sometimes strange things home: Parrots, a monkey, Molders of an elephant, spears and a club from Africa, boomerangs, turbans, snakeskin, ivory statues, opals, gold, tiger-eyes, paintings, clock's etc.

souvenir Gerrit, over 40 years part of the family
Those little things I love the most. It reminds me of him and of the nice time when I was still small and we went almost every holiday to the ship and discover new worlds.
Later on I did travel myself with my backpack all over the world: Ireland, Indonesia, a year Down Under, a few years in the Philippines, etc.

Cooking the cook
I don't know what did influence me the most: the situation at home or the skipper from the Bontekoe. COBBER is my Batavia and I am the main character in my own book named "Once upon a time in a Kayak".


Anonymous said...

nice book

Anonymous said...

mooi boekje hoor

miep said...

mooi plaatje van de cook. makes my heart aches,


COBBER said...


I remember the good times in Maslog.