The Last Remaining Wooden Junk Boat of Hong Kong Still Sails

The sight of a traditional junk boat sailing gracefully in Victoria Harbor has long been an iconic symbol of Hong Kong. However, these majestic vessels have become increasingly rare in modern times. Among the dwindling number of junk boats, one stands out as the last original wooden junk boat still afloat: the Dukling.

Originally built in 1955, the Dukling has a rich history, serving as a home for a local seafaring family before transitioning into a symbol of Hong Kong’s maritime heritage. Measuring 18 meters in length and weighing 50 tons, the Dukling offers locals and tourists alike a unique opportunity to experience the beauty of Hong Kong from the water.

In recent years, the Dukling has faced challenges, particularly with the decline in tourism due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this, the boat continues to operate, albeit with limited availability for private charters due to pandemic-related restrictions.

The story of the Dukling mirrors the evolution of Hong Kong itself. Once a bustling hub of maritime activity, with many residents living and working on board similar vessels, the city has transformed over the decades. However, the Dukling serves as a reminder of Hong Kong’s maritime past and the importance of preserving its cultural heritage.

Restoring the Dukling was no small feat, requiring extensive repairs and permits. Today, the boat remains a living piece of history, with 80% of its original structure intact. Visitors can still enjoy a voyage on the Dukling, taking in the sights of Victoria Harbor and experiencing a connection to Hong Kong’s seafaring traditions.

While the Dukling may be the last of its kind, it is not alone in preserving Hong Kong’s maritime culture. Other similar boats, such as those operated by Aqualuna, also contribute to keeping this heritage alive.

As Hong Kong continues to evolve, the Dukling serves as a reminder of the city’s rich maritime history and the importance of preserving its cultural heritage for future generations to appreciate.

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