Jewel of Muscat at Bait Al Baranda

Muscat, March 13 – The Jewel of Muscat exhibition is currently on at the Bait Al Baranda, Muttrah.
The original Jewel of Muscat sits in the Maritime Experiential Museum and Aquarium in Singapore, as a gift from His Majesty Sultan Qaboos.
The exhibition retraces not only the journey of the vessel that relives Oman’s maritime trade, but also the sea vessels that are part of the country’s maritime pride. Director of Bait al Baranda Malik al Hinai said the expo will run until March 29. “This is a great initiative from the government of Oman through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” he said. They have tied up with the Singaporean government and produced the replica of a vessel found on the coast of Indonesia in 1998, where the wreckage indicated it was either made in the Middle East or India.
It was identified as an Arab vessel, so Oman took the initiative to build the replica right here in Qantab in 2008 using traditional methods: timber and ropes. The expo shows how “sewing a ship” together is a highly developed skill that takes years to master.
The ship has no nails and was sewn together with coconut fibre and planks. On display are the carpentry tools, ropes and samples of the sewn planks as well as navigational tools.
It was way back on 16th February, 2010, when the Jewel of Muscat began her voyage to her final destination — Singapore — after a month of sea trials.
The Jewel of Muscat crew, a majority of whom were Omani navy sailors, also consisted of American, Australian, British, Indian, Malaysian, Singaporean and Sri Lankan crew members. The first stop of the vessel was Kochi, India, but it was also the longest journey. It visited India, Sri Lanka and Malaysia on its five-month passage to Singapore.
What many do not know is that during the second leg — Kochi to Galle, Sri Lanka — the vessel took only nine days but turned out to be adventurous as they encountered a squall of over 40 knots that cracked the main mast.
The display at the exhibition says, “In Sri Lanka, the original (joined) masts were replaced by two single logs. Because of their exceptional length, finding a new mast involved searching through the forests for three weeks for the right trees.” The third leg saw the vessel sail from Galle to George Town (Penang) for 18 days. It turned out to be tricky as “they sailed through the edge of Cyclone Laila, reaching a top speed of 11 knots during a 50-knot squall.”
Another squall broke the lower main yard, striking a crew member on the back of his head, giving him a concussion. But he recovered the following day and they repaired the yard, allowing them to reach Malaysia by June 2. The fourth leg was pleasant sailing down the coast of Malaysia to Singapore, stopping at Port of Klang in Malaysia. The fifth leg turned out to be tough as the Jewel of Muscat faced “adverse currents, contrary winds and a constant flow of maritime traffic through the Straits of Malacca.”
Despite all that, the Jewel of Muscat successfully reached its final destination — Marina Keppel Bay, Singapore — on July 3, 2010, making history.

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