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‘Dasha’ marks start of the 30th Pearl Diving expedition

KUWAIT: At least 175 Kuwaiti youngsters, aged between 10 to 18, embarked in the 30th Pearl Diving Expedition which kicked off yesterday. A traditional send-off ceremony, known commonly as ‘Dasha’, (Arabic for start of journey) was held at the Kuwait Sea Sports Club (KSSC) in Salmiya, attended by parents and several local officials. The event is held annually under the patronage of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. The sailors embarked in their trip aboard 13 wooden ships, including four donated by His Highness the Amir and by the late Amir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah.

This annual tradition is considered a milestone for reviving the Kuwaiti sea heritage and culture on the national, regional, and international arenas, State Minister for National Assembly Affairs Adel Al-Kharafi said in the statement to the media, adding that the trip has gained a wide popularity and interest on the public, official, and media levels. “I was really honored to represent His Highness the Amir in this ceremony which reminds us of the heritage of our ancestors; a ceremony that was made possible 30 years ago by late Amir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah,” he said.

Kharafi praised KSSC’s efforts in making this journey a success. Khalil, 13, is participating in the event for the first time. “I was supposed to join last year, but mu family went for vacation to Thailand instead. But thank God, we stayed in Kuwait this summer, so I told my parents that I am joining this year. We registered and I am here with my cousin,” he said. “I want to learn the art of pearling as practiced by our forefathers. I am sure this is not just about pearling, it is about being in the group, helping each other and getting the job done without the help of our parents.”

KSSC had organized the first traditional pearl diving trip in 1986, starting with five vessels provided by the Ministry of Information. In 1990, all of the club’s sea activities, including the pearl diving trips, were halted due to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August. In 1991, the club resumed its activities after the liberation of the country, and organized the fifth pearl diving trip on board of a ship donated by a prominent Kuwaiti sailor.

Furthermore, the event represents an opportunity to remind Kuwaiti youngsters of the historic sacrifices made by their fathers and grandfathers, who journeyed into regional seas and oceans, risking their lives to provide prosperous life and welfare for their families and country.

By Ben Garcia

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