Ras Al Khaimah, one of the seven emirates that constitute the UAE, is situated in the northern regions bordering Oman. It's an emirate nestled between the mountains and the ocean and has a rich vibrant history, tradition and culture associated with the sea.

In the past the coastal towns were busy hubs for trade, fishing and pearl diving. Countless dhows ( the arabic term for traditional sailing vessels ) of numerous sizes were built and set sail from these ports, their bellies heavy with cargo, traveling along the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. Sea-farers and sailors would go from port to port to places as far as India, Pakistan and Somalia trading goods and picking up more than just cargo.

In Ras Al Khaimah, these boats were what earned families their bread and butter and so building dhows is a tradition that has been passed down through generations. But as the city embraces a modern lifestyle and skyscrapers overshadow the small villas that dot the coast, better paying jobs and modern amenities are gently luring the newer generation away from tradition.

Sons and grandsons now deem this tradition as an expensive hobby of their fathers and grand-fathers.
Ras Al Khaimah, one of the seven emirates that constitute the UAE, is situated in the northern regions bordering Oman. The emirate is nestled between the mountains and the ocean and has a rich vibrant history, tradition and culture associated with the sea.

In the past, the coastal towns were busy hubs for trade, fishing and pearl diving. Countless dhows ( the arabic term for traditional sailing vessels ) were built here and set sail from these ports, their bellies heavy with cargo, traveling along the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. Sea-farers and sailors would go from port to port to places as far as India, Pakistan and Somalia for trade.

In Ras Al Khaimah, these boats were what earned many families their bread and butter. As a result, building these dhows was a tradition that had been passed down through generations.

Sons and grandsons now deem this tradition as an expensive hobby of their fathers and grand-fathers.

One such man is Mohammed Abdulla Bu Haji. He has built dhows all his life. But now as age caches up with him, his memory fades and he must stop. His sons and grand-sons have opted for better-paying government or private sector jobs and there is no one who can continue Bu Haji's tradition. This dhow he is building will be his last. The man who actively spent every waking hour in the dhow-yard directing his crew, has not been keeping well over the last year and his family now wishes for him to rest and recuperate. But question him about his "retirement" and he replies with the spirt of the sea in him; that he will stop only when God tells him to.

Abdul lateef, his foreman of 40 years, will leave once this dhow is ready to set sail. He will have to leave behind the man he calls his 'boss' and the country he called home for many decades. He is happy to return to his family in Kerala, India but he wistfully declares that he will also be sad to leave.

One such man is Mohammed Abdulla Bu Haji.

Credits:

Video & editing:
Deepthi Unnikrishnan

Translation:
Deepthi Unnikrishnan
Abdelhafid Ezzouitn

Multimedia editors:
Brian Kerrigan

Loading more stuff…

Hmm…it looks like things are taking a while to load. Try again?

Loading videos…