The People on the boat

Unseen UAE : Seamen of Sharjah

UAE is synonymous to its wealth. Often the glamorous lifestyle of Dubai is the first thing that comes to anyone’s mind when thinking about UAE. Here in this series you are given a chance to see the other side of UAE.

There is one seaport somewhere near the Corniche street in Sharjah. It is a beautiful walk way along the side of the sea, like any other cornice can  see here. Unlike other ports, people do have a direct access to the port and even to the vessels in the jetty.

The Seaport from a distance
The Seaport from a distance

There were an array of wooden boats. But those seamen considered it to be ship and they take those boats on international journey. Well they are not like the rich boys who takes their yachts and go to some fancy destinations.

The Wooden Ships
The Wooden Boats

These people takes cargo from one place and goes to another place. It might take them for months some times to go from one country to another in that small wooden ship.

I was just walking around the port with my camera. This camera is something that grabs attention. It sometimes results into some interesting conversations too. This time it was a bit different.

I saw a few people near one of those boats.  I tried to take the pictures of the boat from a distance. Then these people got curious and they also wanted some pictures. I gladly agreed and took some pictures for them.

The People on the boat
The People on the boat

You can’t mistake the Indian look. And guess what. I was right. They were from Gujarat, India.

After breaking the ice, they invited me to their home and workplace. To the ship.

The narrow Wood : Way to the Boat
The narrow Wood : Way to the Boat

Through the narrow wooden bridge, I entered their home for 10 months in a year.

They had left their home town a few months ago. They were just going from one place to another carrying various cargoes.  For almost 10 months in a year, they would be doing this. And the rest 2 months, they would go home and spend their time with their near and dear ones. Wanderers of another kind for sure.

There were more people inside the boat.

The navigator
The navigator

They were all from the same place and working together in this sea going life for many years. Most of them started when they were really young.

When most of the country dreamed of becoming an engineer, a doctor or a CA, their only dream was to go to sea and earn a living. You can understand it by checking the number of people from Gujarat in the Shipping Industry.

When asked, they said, they didn’t even feel like going back home.  They were pretty comfortable living the sea life. They liked a life, like a Christopher McCandless quote, “new horizon and new suns every day”.

They invited me to join them inside  their home. And I was  inside the dark rooms of ship amidst those strangers I just met.

They treated me like a guest. They offered me tea. And showed me around the ship and shared their story.

Port or Starboard, The decision is taken from here : At Helm
Port or Starboard, The decision is taken from here : At Helm

The cargo work was going on while I was inside the ship/boat.

A view from the Bridge
A view from the Bridge
Cargo work in progress
Cargo work in progress

Finally I wanted to see the engine room of that wooden ship. Engine room will be below the water level as the propeller should immerse in  the water. Through very narrow wooden steps I went down to the engine room.

In the engine room
In the engine room

Before I was leaving, they asked me to come back on the next Friday to have a biriyani with them.  As I had other plans on that Friday- UAE weekend, I had to turn down their generous offer.

After noting down their email id and whatsapp number to send them the pictures, I left from the home of those seafarers. On my way back, I was wondering about the hospitality of random strangers. This world indeed is a wonderful place to live in.

Here is another example of kindness at the heart of Sharjah, when the tourist officials decided to give me a free tour.


View posts by trablogger
Trablogger aka Jithin is an Indian travel blogger who is obsessed with leading a travel life. When he is not traveling, photographing, writing or blogging, you can see him thinking about sustaining this travel life or helping someone to travel more.

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Been to that place. Of course not to interview the seamen though 😉

un plan infinito

I am not surprised with the hospitality, they are indian people! 🙂 And they wanted photos also!! I miss india!! 😉

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