Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Zanzibar: the iconic Dhow

Even if you have never been to the island of Zanzibar you'll probably be little familiar with the photo above. This is a traditional African or Arabic Dhow, a small, light sailing vessel used to ply trade up and down the coast of Zanzibar, and further afield on the mainland of Africa and around Djibouti and into the Arabian Gulf. I have been lucky enough to see them being hand-built in Sur (in Oman) and I`m sure there are places along the coast here in Zanzibar where these classic trading boats are still assembled. 
Traditionally these boats are made from teak without the use of any fixing devices such as nails and screws. It`s an art that is probably all but died out - certainly in the Middle East all the boatbuilding is now completed using Pakistani labour.
This was shot off the coast in Stonetown - the boats come in quite closely to the beach so you can get some great pictures using a regular 300mm lens - this was shot using a Canon EF100-400mm lens on my 5D MkII.

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