Fotoeins Fotografie

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Sun Life Stanley Dragon Boat Championships : Stanley, Hong Kong

HKG Dragon Boat Championships in Stanley

As a boy to Chinese parents in Vancouver, I remembered looking forward to the middle of the calendar year, because there would be plenty of sticky-rice dumplings (粽), which CantoDict describes as a “glutinous-rice dumpling or tamale, made by wrapping the rice in broad leaves of reeds and boiled for a few hours, usually with other ingredients such as meat, oysters, beans, etc.”

A very popular Chinese holiday surrounds the Duanwu Festival, which occurs on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month in the Chinese calendar; the big festival day occurs on 23 June and 12 June in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Along with the consumption of rice dumplings, the festival is known as the Dragon Boat Festival with the racing of dragon boats. Tradition tells the story of boats set out to retrieve the body of poet and scholar Qu Yuan who drowned himself (278 BCE) after false accusations of conspiracy forced him into exile.

On a June-weekend, thousands congregate to the south portion of Hong Kong Island, all there to attend the annual Dragon Boat Championships. On 23 June 2012, my sister and I head out to Stanley by friends’ invitation to witness the spectacle and party from the comfort of the Horwath HTL boat in Tai Tim Bay. This turns out to be a big bonus, as the weather in June is oppressively hot and sticky. Instead of being stuck in the midst of huge crowds on dry land, we find ourselves in the middle of the bay, surrounded by countless ships of all shapes and sizes in relatively calm conditions.


With occasional breezes blowing through, we sit next to the bow with nibble and drink, watch over the entire proceedings, and chat with people associated with Horwath HTL. Horwath HTL bought time on the boat, operated by a long-time local couple who live on and rent out the boat to corporate and private functions. In brief (Cantonese) conversation with the woman who’s the “brains”, I discover she’s organizer, cook, caretaker, and all-around “mum” for the day; she paces up and down the boat, ensuring everyone’s needs are met.

There is a lot of food and drink, respectively, to fuel and to quench.

There are some fast dragon-boat races with strong competitive crews representing many nations.

There seems to be an impossibly large number of people crammed into narrow strips of beach and on the flotilla of pleasure-boats in the bay.

To hear my sister tell it, it sounds like another typically torrid June weekend-afternoon in Hong Kong.


Sun Life Stanley Dragon Boat Championships : Stanley, Hong Kong

Festival banner

Sun Life Stanley Dragon Boat Championships : Stanley, Hong Kong

Spectators, participants, volunteers

Sun Life Stanley Dragon Boat Championships : Stanley, Hong Kong

More spectators

Sun Life Stanley Dragon Boat Championships : Stanley, Hong Kong

Rest and shade

Sun Life Stanley Dragon Boat Championships : Stanley, Hong Kong

Air Canada crew

Sun Life Stanley Dragon Boat Championships : Stanley, Hong Kong

Dutch Oranje …

Sun Life Stanley Dragon Boat Championships : Stanley, Hong Kong

“Finish”

Sun Life Stanley Dragon Boat Championships : Stanley, Hong Kong

Festival crowds on land

Sun Life Stanley Dragon Boat Championships : Stanley, Hong Kong

Waiting for shuttles to pleasure boats in the bay

Sun Life Stanley Dragon Boat Championships : Stanley, Hong Kong

Big boats in the bay

Sun Life Stanley Dragon Boat Championships : Stanley, Hong Kong

Boats in the bay

Sun Life Stanley Dragon Boat Championships : Stanley, Hong Kong

Our shuttle arrives at the Horvath boat

Sun Life Stanley Dragon Boat Championships : Stanley, Hong Kong

Vantage point on the water

Sun Life Stanley Dragon Boat Championships : Stanley, Hong Kong - 23 Jun 2012

Small shuttle in the waters of the bay

Sun Life Stanley Dragon Boat Championships : Stanley, Hong Kong

Maintaining law and order in the bay

Sun Life Stanley Dragon Boat Championships : Stanley, Hong Kong

Boats 1 and 2 are off

Sun Life Stanley Dragon Boat Championships : Stanley, Hong Kong

“Rock the boat”

Sun Life Stanley Dragon Boat Championships : Stanley, Hong Kong - 23 Jun 2012

A new race

Sun Life Stanley Dragon Boat Championships : Stanley, Hong Kong - 23 Jun 2012

Racing to the finish


Located in the southwestern corner of Hong Kong Island, the town of Stanley is easily accessible by car and by bus. CityBus services 6, 6A, 6X, 66 and 260 travel from Hong Kong’s Exchange Square, which is situated above MTR stations Central/Hong Kong. Citybus service 973 travels from Tsim Sha Tsui East (MTR Hung Hom station) through Kowloon over to Hong Kong Island and Stanley. From Causeway Way, Green Minibus 40 is a community-shuttle service to Stanley.

I made the photos on 23 June 2012; this post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-245.

7 Responses to “HKG Dragon Boat Championships in Stanley”

    • fotoeins

      Hi, Paulina.

      白鬼妹? Really? 😉

      Although my post is about last year’s festival in Hong Kong, I just attended the dragon boat festival here in Vancouver, and there were a ton of crews from California competing in the races. I’ll have to get my stuff together to write about this past weekend’s dragon boat festival here in Vancouver, too.

      By the way, after some time in country/continent, I can converse decently in German.

      Thanks for reading and for your comment! Before you know it, September will come quickly, and the dragon boats will be there in the Bay Area.

      Like

    • myhongkonghusband

      well my husband says 白鬼妹 sounds racist and not that good as I think in Cantonese but I don’t care haha 🙂 can’t wait for your post about new one. last year I was there too, just different location 🙂

      I just wonder why they picked September – it’s time for 中秋節 and mooncakes, too many things to do that time 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • fotoeins

      Paulina, I think that “白鬼妹” sounds a little insulting at the very least, but I suppose it’s all about the tone, delivery, and the context that’s important, too. As for 中秋節, there’s something very imaginative about the imagery of dragons “swallowing” full moons and racing boats chasing off the dragons. It’s hard to ignore the delicious varieties of 月餅, too! I used to think they were all the same, but you can inquire about and test the different yolks and the different “fillings” used. In the Bay Area, I think the weather tends to be warmer in September/October than in June/July with subsequent heating allowing coastal fog to “seep” into the Bay more often.

      Like

    • fotoeins

      Hi, Xandré. When you see an event like this whereever you may be, definitely have a look; the races themselves are a lot of fun to watch. Seeing all the boat crews mingle between races is fun, too! Thanks for reading and for commenting! 🙂

      Like

    • Xandré Verkes

      I definitely will!! While studying we had concrete boat races (you had to build your boat/canoe from concrete & then races on an event day!!) – I imagine this to be quite as much fun as that!!! 😀 **

      Liked by 1 person

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