The Sockeyed Blog

Ben Johnson's Blog

Wooden Ships

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In the port of Veraval, they build giant wooden ships.  In 1998 Derek took me to see them, and I took a few photographs then, but I was very interested in returning to get more images.  The ships are massive, about 1200 tons, and take two years to build.  The wood once came from India, but now is mostly from Malaysia, apparently.  They are about 4-5 storeys from the keel to the top deck, and perhaps 150’ long.

A man walks past a half-completed ship

We arrived at the port at dusk, and I spent time photographing the five large ships under construction.  They had just laid the keel for one, but the others were closer to half-way done.  Kamlesh’s family was once in the boat-building business, so he knew a number of the people working, so we were invited into a boat half-way to completion.  The men were working almost exclusively with hand tools – saws, hammers and chisels; I didn’t see anything more powerful than a power saw.  It’s stunning to think that they can build such ships by hand.

The keel is laid for a new ship

The ship is crafted almost entirely with hand toolsOne of the carpenters working on the ship with his adze by his side

Three of the carpenters take a chai break

Derek shares a laugh with the foreman

A camel cart rolls by a line of ships under construction


Written by sockeyed

October 20, 2009 at 20:16

Posted in Travel

Tagged with , , , , ,

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