For centuries, majestic sailing ships known as Dhows have plied the Indian ocean and the Red Sea carrying gold, ivory, skins and slaves to the great markets of the east.
GV Boats on river (2 shots)
SVs Man working on model of dhow (6 shots)
SVs AND GVs Men working on construction of real dhow (8 shots)
GV PAN Dhow in water (2 shots)
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Background: For centuries, majestic sailing ships known as Dhows have plied the Indian ocean and the Red Sea carrying gold, ivory, skins and slaves to the great markets of the east.
With triangular sails atop slender masts, the dhows have never been able to sail safely more than a few points off the wind, but they have survived hundreds of years of monsoons and storms that punctuate the otherwise tranquil waters of the region.
Although their value as a cargo vessel is diminished these days, the dhow is still used by fisherman and small coastal traders.
But the great boum??? and baggalas that carried hundreds of tonnes of cargo to ports from Aden to Mombasa have gone.
The smaller Mashuas and Jahazis are still being made by the few remaining old craftsmen, or fundis as they are known, but the skill is being lost.
There's a small demand for new dhows, just enough to keep alive the fundis and their ancient skill which has been handed down from father to son for generations.
Motors are being installed in most of the dhows now as sails are no longer fast or reliable enough.
Even many of the old dhows have been dismasted and have had fitted the noisy, smelly devices the machine age has manufactured to replace the silent butterfly-like sails of yesteryear.
One of the last strongholds of dhow building is on the island of Lamu just off the coast of Kenya.
Here a boat fundis is still a respected and important man in his village, but he is one of a dying breed of men and the art of dhow building, with its great traditions and skills, may soon be lost to the world.