The Moon Boat from Cox’s Bazar’s – The extraordinary Bay of Bengal’s naval heritage

In the confines of South Asia, at the frontier of Bangladesh with Burma, we discovered the Moon Boat on a beach, South of Cox’s Bazar. True emblem of this region, it comes in few varieties according to the “Wall” of waves it has to cross everyday.

This boat, whose beauty is matched only by its rarity, is one of the most outstanding and typical of the Bay of Bengal. Its shape can be explained by the need for fishermen to cross the sandy barrier located a few hundred meters from the shore. Thanks to the curvature of its keel line these vessels manage to pass the natural barrier, such as how dolphins jump in the Gange.

In this amazing scenery, and from its most uninterrupted beach, the fishermen sail in « Moons », facing the elements to feed their families.

Unfortunately, since two decades, the traditional fleet of Bangladesh is gradually disappearing pushing into oblivion the incredible traditions of the country and ancestral know-how in shipbuilding. In 2013, Watever, TaraTari Shipyard and Zeppelin photo agency decided to act to preserve and enhance the Cox’s Bazar Moon Boat, one of its most extraordinary specimen.

Step 1: Preserving the richness of the traditional fleet of Bangladesh – Achieved in November 2013

In November 2013, Watever’s team made possible the preservation of the know-how, traditions and ancestral techniques of Cox’s Bazar’s carpenters before this naval heritage totally disappeared. The aim was to build, document and archive a Moon-Boat to allow future generations to be able to rebuild it in the future.

Thereby, during the month of November, 5 carpenters from Cox’s Bazar came to the TaraTari shipyard to build a Moon Boat. Every day Watever’s volonteers took notes, photographed and recorded the construction. With the data collected a technical document explaining the different steps of the construction of the ship was completed.

Step 2: Present and highlight the richness of traditional fleet of Bangladesh

Since 2014, Watever  presents the Moon Boat in France to highlight the cultural heritage of Bangladesh.

The goal is to export one or more Moon Boats or to send a team of carpenters in France and to organize events around the project to highlight and communicate about the rich naval heritage of the Bay of Bengal.