Segments in this Video

Introduction: The Sindbad Voyage (Rachel) (01:35)


Sindbad and his crew are notorious for the perils they faced. Tim Severin sails to China in an attempt to recreate Sindbad's voyage.

Sindbad of the Sea (03:10)

In the early days of Islam, Arab sailors explored earth and sea for trade, spreading tales of Sindbad the sailor. On the Arabian coast in 1980, a ship launches to investigate the origins of the Sindbad stories.

Art of Ship Building (02:30)

Viewers see the ship being built in the tradition of ship building one thousand years ago. Islanders were brought in from the Arabian Sea who still practice the craft of building sewn boats. The safety of such a ship is a concern.

Uncovering the Sindbad Tales (02:26)

The ship will make the ancient trade route of 6,000 miles from Oman to China, funded by the government of Oman. We hear a brief history on the Omani empire and merchants. Boats patrol coastal forts that once controlled ancient trade.

Ship Sohar Marks Celebration (02:31)

Sohar's launch from Moscow marks the 10 year anniversary of Oman's transition into a modern nation state. A volunteer is given the special task of holding the Koran. Severin worries about the crew getting along.

Life of Adventure (04:29)

After squandering most of his inheritance, Sindbad used the remaining money to purchase a ship. Sohar's crew survives on rice, fish and other traditional foods. Problems with the ship demand immediate repairs.

46 Days After Setting Sail (02:51)

The Europeans learned that the traditional Arab work-chants were designed to ease the back breaking shipboard tasks. Sohar makes landfall on the coast of India. Ancient Arab merchants like Sindbad would've traded spices here.

Hand Stitched Sails (01:44)

Ship maintenance is done in order to maintain the vessel. The traditional hand woven cotton sails stretched during the journey and had to be remade. This was done with help from fishermen in a mere 6 days.

Buried Alive (02:59)

The viewers hear the tale of Sindbad's tragic marriage.

Risky Operation (03:22)

Off the tip of India, Sohar encounters strong winds. We see the crew struggle to switch out the large sails for smaller ones.

Valley of Diamonds (03:29)

Sohar reaches Sri Lanka January of 1981. Sri Lanka was a source of prized jewels in ancient times, which are still searched for in valleys today. The narrator tells a story of Sindbad in "The Valley of the Diamonds."

Grip of the Doldrums (02:52)

By the end of February, the ship sails for Sumatra, where little progress is made due to headwinds. To compensate for the dwindling food supply, the crew fishes.

Arrival of Monsoons (02:07)

Calm weather allows the photographer a chance to shoot pictures of the ship and crew. Finally a monsoon arrives, bringing much needed winds and rain, replenishing drinking water.

Different Danger Awaits (02:14)

The crew prepares for pirates they may encounter. They practice with weapons given to them by the sultan.

Great Ape of Sumatra (02:48)

On Easter Sunday, Sohar reaches the northwestern tip of Sumatra, unraveling more of Sindbad's tales. We hear a story told of Sindbad's escape from his enslavement by an old man.

Vietnam's Angry Squalls (03:41)

On her last leg of the voyage, Sohar meets with typhoons in the South China Sea, which ravages ship and crew. Three of Sohar's sails are destroyed in a single day, taking 10 days to repair.

Pirate Watch (03:12)

In the Vietnam waters, unidentified ships are treated with caution. Boat people, refugees, come to Sohar seeking help on their journey to Thailand.

End in Sight (01:50)

The Coast of China is sited. A welcome ceremony marks the first time in centuries an ancient style Arab sailing ship will enter China's port. Sohar's journey retraced the origins of Sindbad's adventures in India, Sri Lanka, and Sumatra.

Arab and Chinese Peoples Unite (03:12)

A special delegation arrives from Oman to greet voyagers, including several notable people. Fireworks and parades are included in the celebration. The vessel Sohar returns home and becomes a national monument.

Credits: The Sindbad Voyage (00:46)

Credits: The Sindbad Voyage

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The Sindbad Voyage

Part of the Series : Retracing History
DVD Price: $99.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $149.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $99.95



Sindbad the Sailor was a fictional character from The Arabian Nights. Or were his adventures based on actual experiences of Arab sailors plying the silk and spice route to China? A crew of twenty spent more than seven months at sea in a ship built without nails, sewn together with some 400 miles of coconut rope, covering 6,000 miles across the Arabian Sea to India, across the Indian Ocean, and finally to southern China—living as the tales of Sindbad said he lived, becalmed in the doldrums and battered by violent seas as was Sindbad, and living to tell the extraordinary tale. (54 minutes)

Length: 54 minutes

Item#: BVL4292

Copyright date: ©1993

Closed Captioned

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Only available in USA and Canada.