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Over the last three years, they’ve turned it into an event known as the Pearl Diving Festival.

This festival is organized by the Kuwait Sea Sports Club (KSSC) and is five days long.

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With a long coastline, Kuwait is strategically placed for pearl diving.

In the early 1900’s the pearl business thrived and made the merchants — most of whom have now become prominent citizens of the desert nation — rich.

As oil production boomed, the dependence on pearls has waned.

Seven thousand years after the first pearl was found in Kuwait, the pearl market has all but vanished from the country and its shores.

The youth — ranging from 14 to 30 — seem excited and even tentative about the trip.

After all, the wooden ships they will set sail on are nothing like the opulent catamarans and yachts they’re used to.

They’re simple and rustic, with white sails, floors covered with sackcloth and little else.

Some of these ships were donated by the former Emir, Sheik Jaber Al-Ahmed Al Sabah, who was keen on reminding his countrymen of their roots.

Kuwait is still not as commercial as some of its glitzy neighbors, though it’s citizens have not forgotten their humble beginnings.

Back then, pearl diving was difficult without all the modern technology and diving equipment.

The government finally closed the pearl-oyster market in the year 2000, despite local protest.

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