x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

History of the wind and the sails

A treasure trove of sea artefacts is on display at the Sharjah Maritime Museum.

SHARJAH // The history of the pearl divers, their equipment and a 7,000-year-old pearl that was found in a coastal grave in Sharjah are on display at the Sharjah Maritime Museum.

There is a hall dedicated to the different types of winds and stars that guided the maritime trade and paths.

A sign on the wall explains that from May to September, dhows such as the one featured on the Dh20 note left Gulf ports on the south-west monsoon winds, carrying cargo to the ports of Karachi, Mumbai, Mangalore, Cochin and Colombo on the subcontinent.

Between October and March, the north-east winds took the vessels to African ports.

One of the most important and famous local winds, known as theshamal, which blows north-west, has three phases.

"We built dhows to withstand the different moods of al shamal," says Ahmed Obeid, 62, a fisherman from Khor Fakkan.

From January to February the wind is known as butayan, and then it becomes stronger and becomes ajuza. It is the most dangerous in April and May, when it is called barih ath-Thorayya.

* Rym Ghazal