AmaDara’s Mekong River Captain Boat Dang Tuc
By Anne Kalosh.
Inspired by the Australian miniseries “All Rivers Run” about a life of adventure on a paddle-steamer, a young Vietnamese set his heart on a ship career. And today, Dang Tuc, 52, commands AmaDara, one of the finest boats on the Mekong.
He often stands at the gangway to welcome passengers to a river he considers “smooth and romantic.”
Tuc first worked aboard fishing boats, then cargo ships, and by 1999 he was skilled enough to become a pilot, leading vessels into Ho Chi Minh City. Subsequently, working for the Vietnamese partner of AmaWaterways, he was appointed captain of AmaLotus in 2014 after a stint as staff captain.
In 2015, Tuc took command of the brand-new AmaDara, where he continues to serve, leading a deck and engine crew of 11. Besides ensuring safe operations at all times, a key duty is crew training. The Mekong has few docking sites for passenger boats, so sometimes AmaDara anchors in the river, while other times the captain nudges the boat to the shore, where it’s tied to trees.
Another challenge is the great difference in water levels between the rainy and dry seasons, which Tuc said can go from 45 meters to just 10 to 15 meters. This means, he said, that the top of the boat is lower than the ground level at one of the villages where AmaDara docks during the dry period. (Wow, that’s hard to imagine!)
Tuc’s kids are proud of what he does. Though the downside of the job is being away from his family for a couple weeks at a time. When he’s sailing, he phones his wife every night.
As the number of boats operating in the river is growing, Tuc sees a bright future for Mekong cruising. He thinks that’s due to the quality delivered and positive reports back from passengers.
That I can sure agree with!
Enjoy Anne’s full story about her AmaDara Mekong River cruise HERE.
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