The red sails of the Aqua Luna junk have become as much a part of Victoria Harbour as the Star Ferry and Hong Kong’s iconic skyline.
Those striking sails will continue to flutter across the water each day and night, but the harbour will soon be graced with another presence: the Aqua Luna II. This vessel – the second harbour cruise boat to come from the Aqua Luna group – is bigger than its red-sailed sister and displays a different design.
Its sails are beautifully adorned with Chinese imperial-style dragons, an important symbol dating back to the Ming Dynasty. And there’s still an auspicious touch of red to be found in the crimson lanterns illuminating the boat’s upper deck.
In Chinese, the two boats are named after Cheung Po Tsai, a Hong Kong pirate from the 19th century who is said to have stashed his treasure in the caves of Cheung Chau.
Perhaps even more impressive than the boat’s aesthetic appeal is the story behind its construction. The project team was headed up by master craftsman Sifu Au, an 86-year-old shipwright who has built more wooden boats than any other person in Hong Kong. Measuring 29 metres in length, the boat was mainly constructed from wood and bamboo, and the structure is completely free of nails.
David Yeo, founder of the Aqua empire, said the introduction of the Aqua Luna II is the group’s latest effort to preserve a dying art. He spoke of the “sad disappearance of one of Hong Kong’s great traditions – the Chinese wooden junk that defined Hong Kong’s remarkable seafaring past.”
“The Victoria Harbour was once filled with glorious red sail Chinese junk boats, however over the years they have disappeared one by one,” he said. “What better way to raise the spirits of the city than to recreate such a visually stunning and a quintessentially Hong Kong icon.”
Complimentary cruises on the Aqua Luna II will be offered to Hong Kong ID holders on the 13th and 14th of May from noon to 5:30pm.
Those who dine at one of Aqua Restaurant Group’s venues between now and 31 May will also have the chance to win tickets aboard the boat.
Text: Emily Petsko