Young Kuwaiti divers sail for 32nd annual pearl diving trip

By Faten Omar

KUWAIT: Under the sponsorship of HH the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, young Kuwaiti divers set sail for the 32nd annual pearl diving trip on traditional dhows off the coast of Khairan. Kuwait Sea Sports Club (KSSC) organized a “dasha” ceremony on Saturday with the participation of about 60 youths.

Head of the Kuwait Heritage Committee at KSSC Ali Al-Qabandi said: “The six-day trip is important, as it is one of the most prominent national activities aiming to revive Kuwaiti marine heritage. This trip is in memory of our fathers and grandfathers, when pearl diving was the livelihood of the people of Kuwait in the past.”

He indicated this trip is the first to be held in the name of HH the Amir Sheikh Nawaf after it was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. “We stopped for three years because of COVID-19, but we returned today for an exceptional trip with Kuwaiti youth onboard two dhows off Khairan, which will take about seven hours. They will start diving from Sunday,” Qabandi said.

“Usually, the number of participants used to be more than 250, but this year there are only 60 participants, in addition to administrators and supervisors. We hope participation will be more next year,” he said, praising Kuwaiti youth willing to go on this heritage trip despite its harshness and the hot weather.

Deputy Director General of the Public Authority for Sport (PAS) Bashar Abdullah Al-Salem said the authority is keen to support such historical and heritage events, adding Minister of Commerce and Industry and Minister of State for Youth Affairs Muhammad Al-Aiban will be present at the Al Qafal (arrival of the divers with sea treasures) ceremony.

“I am happy with the participation of Kuwaiti youth at the young ages of 13-14, which shows the importance of this event in the lives of young people and their inheritance of old habits despite the speedy pace of life and development of technology,” Salem noted. He affirmed the role of PAS is to support sporting and important events, adding such events that have a great role in spreading awareness of our history and giving a purpose to an important segment of the society in Kuwait.

Badr Dhiab, a participant, said the experience would stimulate him to remember the forefathers and the difficulties they had gone through in the past times. His peer, Rashed Al-Fegaan, said he was elated to organize the festival after a three-year hiatus due to the coronavirus. He expressed pride of participating in the activity under sponsorship of His Highness the Amir. The six-day voyage features the two dhows, donated by the late Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. The latest edition comes after a three-year hiatus due to ramifications of the COVID-19.

The organizing committee said the divers will return on Thursday. Pearl-diving trips were previously held annually under the patronage of the late Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to keep traditions alive. At core of the activity is revival of the ancestors’ hard work and adventures for many of the voyages on the man-made ships in the past aimed at pearling—that was a main source for living for many Kuwaitis.

The club started organizing the annual activity in 1986, when the Ministry of Information furnished the participants with five dhows before the late Amir granted two others in 1987 out of his keenness on encouraging the young citizens get involved in such activities that bring to life the national heritage. The late Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad had also donated other ships to the club, enabling it hold the diving ceremony steadily on yearly basis, keeping memories of the old generations engraved in the conscience of the youth.

The post Young Kuwaiti divers sail for 32nd annual pearl diving trip appeared first on Kuwait Times.

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