07 May 2009

Wooden ships, Mandvi

Wooden ships under construction, Mandvi, GujaratEarly February 2007. At Mandvi on the coast of northern Gujarat, teams of workers still build wooden ships. Apart from the odd electric drill, all the tools I saw were hand tools: long, curved saws with wicked teeth; chisels, mallets. A block-and-tackle hooked up to a massive, roughly milled plank. Huge, hand-forged iron nails. In the early morning when dense mist still hung along the river, the partly silhouetted shapes looked like the lower jaws of giant, peg-toothed whales — the kind ancient cartographers used to draw in blank parts of their maps.
All content © 2009 Pete McGregor

11 comments:

Zhoen said...

That image brings up all the other senses, that early fog, the sounds of tools on wood, the ocean smells, everything together.

Barbara said...

I'm new ... discovered you through womanwandering.blogspot ... this is absolutely stunning! I love the juxtaposition of the biblical-looking ships with the motorized vehicles, and the fog makes it feel, umm, something like Beowulf ... Vikings ... Cool. Thanks.

butuki said...

I couldn't help but think, "Someone's building an ark!" And wondering how they will get along when I comes time to call all the pairs of animals... even the sexless ones!

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Pete,
The song by Crosby Stills and Nash - Wooden Ships, came to mind. I thought that a bit obvious, but then I put it on and listened, and it fits very well.
Cheers,
Robb

pohanginapete said...

Zhoen, in that assault on all the senses, it's typical of most of the India in which I travelled.

Barbara, thanks, and welcome :^) Mandvi has its own distinctive character as well as being so Indian. Mediaeval and modern simultaneously.

Miguel, they do look like arks at that stage. They'd be pretty crowded though... ;^)

Robb, I know the song and like it: thanks for reminding me :^)

Chad Warren said...

I can't imagine seeing that ship without the fog. The ship is a stunning surprise from the past along with its incompleteness intact as it bumps close to us surging through the grey. I feel odd because all the other people riding bikes up and down the street find it way more familiar than I.

pohanginapete said...

Chad, that's a good point — the sense of dislocation at places like this can feel close to overwhelming. Everyone else taking for granted things that seem impossible, dreamlike for us, the strangers.

Thanks, and welcome.

Shady said...

This is my Village, my ancestors belong here...I love visiting this place. Its just Beautiful...
Mehul Bhujwala

pohanginapete said...

Welcome, Mehul, and thanks for leaving the comment :^) I have fond memories of Mandvi; maybe one day I'll get to revisit it.

Anonymous said...

Mandvi is a hidden gem in Kutch. I visit Mandvi every year and each time I see the ships, I'm stunned. The vijay Vilas and Swaminarayan Temple also are amazing.

pohanginapete said...

Thanks for the comment, Anon. I visited it twice, and would love to return there.