In the footsteps of 9th Century Arab Navigators
18.02.2013 24 °C
Having seen the hall dedicated to the Jewel of Muscat recreated 9th Century Arab Dhow the previous day at the Bayt Al-Zubair Museum in Old Muscat we had the opportunity through a close contact of my cousins to see the boatyard on Qantab Beach near Muscat where the Jewel of Muscat was actually built.
The Jewel of Muscat is a 59 feet (18 metres) long and 21 feet (6.5 metres) wide fullsize reconstruction of a 9th Century Arab Dhow sailing back from China found shipwrecked in 1998 off Belitung Island in Indonesia. In 2010 the reconstructed Jewel of Muscat took 138 days (including 68 days at sea) to sail 3,580 nautical miles to Singapore stopping at Cochin (India), Galle (Sri Lanka), George Town (Penang Island), and Port Klang (Malaysia) along the way recreating the voyages of early Arab sailors.
The Jewel of Muscat was built without nails or screws and the planks were sewn together with coconut fibres. This is similar to the traditional shipbuilding method used in the 9th century.
On its arrival in Singapore on the 3rd July 2010 the Jewel of Muscat was presented as a gift to the people of Singapore from Oman and now sits in a Maritime Museum in Singapore. Since then the boatyard at Qantab has been commisioned to build several similar boats using traditional methods as well as several models for museums. Ironically these models are so intricate that they normally take as long to build as their full size counterparts!