A to Z Challenge: D is for Dhow

Participating in Blogging from A-Z challenge (April 2016) with a sea-shore theme…

Dhows (generic name) are the traditional trading and fishing vessels of Arabia. 

Originally with one or two masts with lateen sails, dhows are used in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean region. Dhows were primarily trading vessels carrying merchandise, water and fruit along the coastlines of Arab countries and further across to Pakistan, India and down the East coast of Africa.Larger dhows have crews of around 30 men, smaller ones around 12.


Similar in design, classified according to the shape of their hull, so dhows with square sterns are classified as gaghalah, ganja,sanbuuq and jihaazi.

Older dhows had a double-ended hull.

The dhow had a triangular or lateen sail and a stitched construction. The hull boards were sewn together with fibres,cords and thongs.

Now they are large, wooden hulled vessels without sails. A wooden awning covers part of the deck and lives are lived onboard.

Alongside Dubai creek you can find the larger dhows, merchandise of all sorts and sizes, fridges, washing machines, chairs, produce, beverages, lining the creek side, waiting to be loaded on board for a journey somewhere across to Iran or along the coastline of Pakistan.

In the city of Sur, in Oman there is a dhow-building shipyard, I still have some traditional pegs from my visit. Wood shavings and sawdust everywhere as the dhows are constructed in an age-old method. On the banks of the inlet, dark skinned men with the traditional head-coverings, saw and construct on rickety scaffolding under the blazing sun.

Dhows at sea are a sight to behold. The graceful shape of the dhow cutting across a glassy turquoise sea is evocative of the past of a sea-faring and trading nation.


In Sharjah the Maritime Museum explores  the history of dhows, building and the pearl-diving trade of the Gulf. Well worth a visit with the Aquarium next door, cost 30AED per person for entry to the Maritime museum and the Aquarium.

Wiki link to Dhows.


13 comments on “A to Z Challenge: D is for Dhow

  1. Beautiful pics as always Vicky. Sometimes when driving from Saudi Arabia to Bahrain we see a fleet of dhows out on the water – a beautiful sight.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ok, LOL, I tried to research the reply, just in case they are.. but i don’t speak or read Arabic, so, I have no idea if it could be a possibility, but you made me laugh, very witty daveply…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am enjoying your a-z theme. I love all things related to the sea shore. My experiences there are different and I’m really enjoying the things that you are highlighting for each letter. I had never heard of dhows. Working boats are always so interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

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