Merchants on the Dhow Wharf

The dhow wharfs on the Dubai creek are a frantic hive of activity, as the long wooden boats are loaded and unloaded with all manner of goods imaginable to embark on the long journeys across the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean. The wharfs are a world apart from the gleaming skyscrapers and 6 star hotels that Dubai is famed for, and show a glimpse into the life of the Gulf as it once was. This is a trade that has been unchanged since the 1830s when the Maktoums established a free-trade port, luring merchants away from Persia.

Under the blazing sun, goods such as washing machines, bicycles, spices, chewing gum, or televisions can be seen lining the wharfs as the merchants work tirelessly to load the dhows ready for their voyage ahead.

Most of the predominantly South Asia merchants will be taking the goods to destinations such as Iran, India, Yemen, Sudan, Pakistan, Somalia and Oman. Lives can be tough for the dhow merchants, with little pay and the danger of pirates roaming the waters off Yemen and Somalia.