Men of the sea


Men of the sea
by Parviz Forghani

No matter whether its 6 in the morning or 7 in the evening. Its almost always hot, dusty and misty. My lenses, both on my spectacles and my camera are foggy and blurred. [photo essay]

If you walk alongside the Dubai Creek from Deira side, just after passing the floating restaurants, you will enter into the busy noisy crowded dirty world of hundreds of "lounges", small sized cargo boats, anchored tightly and untidily by the Creek and are either busy with loading or waiting for the cargo and release permission to sail.

Many of these lounges, specially the smaller ones are from Iran. They carry tires, cooking and motor oil, fabrics, soft drinks, toys, home appliances, cereals, chocolate and many other consumer goods to different ports located in Southern Iranian coastline stretched more than 1700 KM, alongside the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman. Some of such ports are Lengeh, Busher, Rig, Queshm, Kish, Chabahar, Hengam and Lavan.

Sailing time takes between 24 hours and a week depending on the destination and the status of the sea. The crew of each lounge consists of a "nakhoda" or captain and a team of "jashoos" or sea laborers, who are in charge of loading, unloading, lashing and securing, cleaning, cooking and just about anything but navigation.

These men of the sea have been engaged in this traditional sailing for long years and it is estimated that these low paid poor jashoos support life of several hundred thousand southern Iranian families. Unfortunately the recent political zigzags along with poor Iranian Government decisions has negatively affected the life of this people.

They come here lounge bounded, stay in in their lounges, work very hard together, eat together, and during their waiting spare time they bathe on the board, gather on the board and drink tea, chat and play cards.

I casually ask one of them: where are the seagulls nakohda? He smiles and while pointing toward a bunch of jashoos working on the next lounge says: there they are, the beautiful seagulls! The jashoos smile widely and pose for my camera.

I accept their invitation, climb the ladder to the board, have a cup of tea with them and take some photos. [photo essay]


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