Guardians of UAE Marine Heritage Saleh Hanblou, left, and Nasser Hassen Al Kas Al Ali. Image Credit: Supplied

Ras Al Khaimah: Two Emirati veterans from Ras Al Khaimah have shared the rich marine heritage of the UAE ahead of its 51st National Day.

Nasser Hassen Al Kas Al Ali, 77, from the Al Mairid area, says, “As Emiratis, we will not forget the legacy of our ancestors. Despite the challenges of globalisation, we are proud of our heritage and are making efforts to revive it and convey it to the other generations.”

He says, “We are proud of what we have achieved over the past years."

A regular invitee by schools and other institutions to give lectures on how to preserve marine heritage, Al Ali has spent most of his life at sea and has vast knowledge about the maritime and seafaring traditions of the UAE. The sea, he says, offers him a great sense of peace and happiness and that’s where he spends most of his time.

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Nasser Hassen Al Kas Al Ali, 77, says his love for the sea began as a child his father gave him lessons on its generosity and its ability to sustain life. Image Credit: Supplied

“We are blessed with a distinguished leadership which makes life easy for us,” he says.

Emiratis as well as expats in the UAE are living a good life, thanks to the founders of the Union, he points out.

His love for the sea began as a child when his father gave him lessons on its generosity and its ability to sustain life. According to his father, from times immemorial, the sea has shared its largesse and fed generation after generation. Through the passage of time, people here relied on the sea for their livelihood, by fishing and pearl diving, Al Ali was told.

“Every year, on National Day, we participate and organise different activities in the marine museums.”

Having worked as the head of Bin Majid Society for Folk Arts as well as head of number of marine museums in Ras Al Khaimah, he urges the young generation to preserve UAE’s maritime heritage by participating in boat racing events and other activities.

Al Ali said that he met the late Shaikh Zayed bin Nahyan four times and was encouraged to preserve the culture and heritage of UAE.

Al Ali has also written four books on the heritage of UAE, and marine richness.

“The UAE today greets the world as a country that is ever willing to lend a helping hand to those in need. It’s a country that is happy to celebrate the occasions of other countries,” he adds.

On this National Day, he wishes to once again express his appreciation for this country that is his birthplace and that has nurtured and raised him.

Priceless legacy

Yet another veteran, Saleh Hanblouh, 68, from Al Rams area of Ras Al Khaimah, talks of how despite the tremendous changes in the country, they are determined to continue working towards preserving the UAE’s heritage and its culture.

He says it is a priceless legacy that needs to be passed on to the coming generations.

Having established a heritage marine museum in Al Rams in 1999. He recalls how his father, who had a deep love for UAE’s heritage, had, before his death, asked him to work towards preserving the heritage of their ancestors.

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Saleh Hanblouh, 68, established a heritage marine museum in Al Rams in 1999. Image Credit: Supplied

The museum includes many old tools used by the locals in the sea. Hanblouh also uses his vast experience to teach the young generation about the customs, traditions and practices that they have been fortunate to inherit. Besides fishing and pear diving, being guided by the stars to ytravel is something he can explain in depth.

“There were no power boats or mobile phones in the early days,” he reminds us.

He also organises visit to schools and other institutions to teach youngsters the value of self-reliance and help them hone their endurance skills.

Residents call him the guardian of UAE marine heritage.

For Hanblouh, the sea is the most ideal place to head to spend quality time in communion with nature. He is proud to be an Emirati and the National Day, he says, is the happiest day for every UAE citizen.

“We are proud of this day,” he says, adding that the Founding Father of the UAE grounded Emiratis in morals and values like tolerance and respect.