Muscat: Oman’s contingent on board the Shabab II yacht has left several visitors impressed, as it continues its goodwill trip around the world.
It was the same with Arno van Marrewijk, a Dutchman who visited the vessel when it docked at Amsterdam last June. The 55-year-old was particularly impressed by the bagpipers on board the yacht, with their red and green tartan regalia, and took several stunning photos of the pipers and the rest of the crew.
In pictures: The bagpipers of Shabab Oman II
“They arrived on the 22nd of June and on the 25th,” recalled Van Marrewijk, speaking about the visit of the Shabab II. “I wanted to visit it because it is a beautiful ship and I found out that it was Dutch-made and although it looks like a traditional sailing ship, it is very modern. I am also very interested in Arabic culture.
“Long ago, I served in the navy for 10 years,” added the Dutchman, who now works as a biology teacher in the town of Den Helder, where he lives with his wife and three children. “I think the Omani crew were very friendly and open and, I was also happy to see that they also had women on board, who also participated in all the activities.”
This friendly aspect of the Omani people — a cornerstone of the Sultanate’s ethos and reputations throughout the world as a warm and hospitable nation, ensured Van Marrewijk left the Shabab II with some very positive memories.
“I met the bagpiper on board and asked him if I could take a portrait of him, because he had a beautiful outfit. He said okay and showed me a great smile,” he recalled.
“I went to see the Shabab Oman again, later that day with my wife, who also liked the ship and its crew very much. I once again experienced how easy it was to make a connection with the Omani crew members, than with the crews of some of the other tall ships in our harbour. It made me curious about life in Oman.”
“The people were friendly and were dressed in traditional attire, which was great for taking special pictures,” added Van Marrewijk.
“The Omani crew had a lot of exposure in the local press, because they made a great appearance during the street parade in the city of Den Helder. They entertained us with music, dancing and plenty of fun.”
Having uploaded many of his high-resolution photos onto his Flickr account, Van Marrewijk’s experiences on board the yacht have inspired him to visit the Sultanate in the future.
“I took a picture of myself and my son Roeland on June 25 when the tall ships left the harbour of Den Helder and a lot of Dutch people were watching that on the dike, sort of like a last goodbye,” he explained. “I have not yet visited Oman, but would like to, maybe someday in the future.”