182 183Asia-Pacific Boating March/April 2014 Asia-Pacific Boating March/April 2014
HERITAGE — Emeraude —HERITAGE — Emeraud...
184 185Asia-Pacific Boating March/April 2014 Asia-Pacific Boating March/April 2014
HERITAGE — Emeraude —
INSPIRATION CAN O...
186 187Asia-Pacific Boating March/April 2014 Asia-Pacific Boating March/April 2014
HERITAGE — Emeraude —
phone directory a...
Asia Pacific Boating Magazine devoted 6 full pages featuring the Emeraude Classic Cruises' 10th year anniversary story, Ma...
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Asia Pacific Boating Magazine devoted 6 full pages featuring the Emeraude Classic Cruises' 10th year anniversary story, March 2014

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www.emeraude-cruises.com

Pre-1920 postcards provide the inspiration designing, financing and building the replica paddle boat Emeraude that takes tourists around Vietnam's scenic Halong Bay. -- Glen Watson
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Asia Pacific Boating Magazine devoted 6 full pages featuring the Emeraude Classic Cruises' 10th year anniversary story, March 2014

  1. 1. 182 183Asia-Pacific Boating March/April 2014 Asia-Pacific Boating March/April 2014 HERITAGE — Emeraude —HERITAGE — Emeraude — ONE MAN’S PASSIONPRE-1920s POSTCARDS PROVIDE THE INSPIRATION FOR DESIGNING, FINANCING AND BUILDING THE REPLICA PADDLE BOAT EMERAUDE THAT TAKES TOURISTS AROUND VIETNAM’S SCENIC HALONG BAY. By Glen Watson
  2. 2. 184 185Asia-Pacific Boating March/April 2014 Asia-Pacific Boating March/April 2014 HERITAGE — Emeraude — INSPIRATION CAN OCCUR at any time, in any place. Just ask Frenchman Eric Merlin, who in 1999 was flicking through a box of old Indochine postcards at the St. Ouen flea market in Paris. But three postcards, the likes of which he had never seen before, were dated 1916, 1917 and 1919. Two of them showed paddle steamers in Halong Bay, Vietnam. The other one contained an image of the boats at Hai Phong Port. Using a magnifying glass, Merlin could see the names Emeraude and Perle. He soon returned to Vietnam, where he’d been running his travel company Exotissimo in Ho Chi Minh City since 1993. He took the cards with him and kept them in his desk where occasionally he would look at them, show them to friends, and dream that maybe one day he would find one of these ships. By 2001, Merlin had put a prospectus together to find investors he hoped would finance the construction of a replica paddle wheeler like the ones in the postcards. Despite the lack of interest from investors, he decided to go it alone and in January 2003 construction began on the boat he’d been dreaming about for the past several years. While this was happening, Merlin kept wondering about the boats in the postcards. So he kept researching them and despite a few wrong paths and extreme lack of information about the ships, Merlin has collected a trove of photos and even wrote more than 1,200 letters to everyone with the name Roque in a French
  3. 3. 186 187Asia-Pacific Boating March/April 2014 Asia-Pacific Boating March/April 2014 HERITAGE — Emeraude — phone directory after he found out that was the name the former French owners, whose entrepreneurial lives and association with Vietnam are very reminiscent of his own. All of Merlin’s painstaking research has been documented recently in a 112-page book, “The Jewels of Halong Bay – A Tale of Adventure in French Indochina and the History of the Emeraude” by Dr Pam Scott, that includes a detailed history of French Indochina and this excerpt about what happened to the original Emeraude: The sinking of the Emeraude On the evening of 16 March 1937 as the Emeraude was returning to Hai Phong from Moncay, it collided with a large submerged rock seven km from Cam Pha port. A large hole was ripped in the shell of the vessel, the Emeraude quickly sank. According to the police report of the incident, all those aboard were saved. However, the Emeraude was never recovered. No doubt it remains resting on the floor of the Bay to this day. But thanks to a chance encounter with a few postcards and one man’s passion and determination, today’s Emeraude luxuriously transports her guests into the past and continues her predecessor’s tradition of showing tourists the remarkable beauty of the limestone karsts in Halong Bay, a UNESCO World heritage site. www.emeraude-cruises.com

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