Bajo people, the last sea nomads

From Banda Neira we sailed to Wakatobi, home of the Bajo people, known as the last of the sea nomads.

Ethnically they are Malay people who have lived at sea for the last 400 years between present day Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.

 

Though marginalized in the past, their knowledge was revered by the Malay sultans, who counted on their knowledge to establish and protect trading routes.

They are still amazingly skilled free divers and spear fisherman, being able to hold their breath for as much as 5 minutes under water and to dive as deep as 30 meters to hunt pelagic fish, sea cucumbers or pearls.

 

Bajo children destined to be spear-gun fishermen have their eardrums pierced when they are young so they will not burst later from water pressure while diving. They still dive with hand carved wooden glasses with glass lenses and their spear guns are all hand made.

Though marginalized in the past, their knowledge was revered by the Malay sultans, who counted on their knowledge to establish and protect trading routes.

They are still amazingly skilled free divers and spear fisherman, being able to hold their breath for as much as 5 minutes under water and to dive as deep as 30 meters to hunt pelagic fish, sea cucumbers or pearls.

Bajo children destined to be spear-gun fishermen have their eardrums pierced when they are young so they will not burst later from water pressure while diving. They still dive with hand carved wooden glasses with glass lenses and their spear guns are all hand made.

 

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