A young girl doing chores on the Pulau Hoga in Wakatobi in Indonesia on Mallory on Travel adventure travel, photography, travel iain-mallory_indo1598

The Bajo; ‘Sea Gypsies’, a Portrait

This is a companion post to one published just yesterday, the reason; when choosing images to accompany that article I realised this village and the Bajo, Sea Gypsies are just too photogenic. There were too many images, too many wonderful, character filled faces, too many young, fresh smiles and too many glimpses of Bajo culture to be ignored.

The Bajo village of the Sea Gypsies in Pulau Hoga, Wakatobi in Indonesia on Mallory on Travel adventure travel, photography, travel iain-mallory_indo1554

The main thoroughfare

It’s also sometime since you were treated to a photo essay, how remiss of me, and as they all deserved to be published, here they are.

Read the original post here: Waterworld – The Bajo, ‘Sea Gypsies’ of Pulau Hoga

The Bajo children in the village in Pulau Hoga. in Sulawesi, Wakatobi in Indonesia on Mallory on Travel adventure travel, photography, travel iain-mallory_indo1500

Helping us ashore

This is a truly unique culture, a people that have roamed the oceans as nomads, and even now although they are more static either by choice or enforced they still depend entirely on the sea.

Fishing nets in the Bajo people village, Pulau Hoga in Wakatobi, Indonesia on Mallory on Travel adventure travel, photography, travel iain-mallory_indo1547

Living off the ocean

The Bajo have undoubtedly been affected by exposure to modern societies, and contact with western tourists. The labels of large fashion houses are prominent and children wear western style training shoes and the colours of their favourite European football team. There also seem to be some overhead power cables, so it seems realistic that they have the convenience of electrical appliances.

“The ocean is our universe”

A Bajo woman poles through the Pulau Hoga village in Wakatobi, in Sulawesi in Indonesia on Mallory on Travel adventure travel, photography, travel iain-mallory_indo-1-70

Village traffic

A large satellite dish near the quay, seems to suggest they probably have the dubious pleasure of soap operas, reality television and endless repeats. Oh well, they can’t expect it all to be good news!

Obviously there aren’t any cars, these are an ocean dwelling people, that once lived a nomadic life, ocean going vessels are their motor vehicles.

Fishermen from the Bajo village in Pulau Hoga, Wakatobi in Indonesia on Mallory on Travel adventure travel, photography, travel iain-mallory_indo1490

Going fishing

Fishermen get around using boats fitted with powerful outboard engines, but this seems about the extent of their integration into the modern world.

You couldn’t swim for bumping into fish…. Today you are lucky if you see fish above 25 cm”

Professor David J Smith

Fish stocks have been dwindling for decades, and the Bajo are having to discover new enterprising ways to capitalise on their greatest resource; the sea. Fish farming, aquaculture and seaweed cultivation are just a few new skills they are having to learn quickly.

Bajo children in the Pulau Hoga village in Wakatobi in Sulawesi, Indonesia on Mallory on Travel adventure travel, photography, travel iain-mallory_indo1516

Young sea gypsies

Education is now a significant factor in the survival of the Bajo ‘Sea Gypsies’, teenagers are now attending schools and being exposed to other cultures and attitudes. It seems natural, some will be tempted, enticed by the perceived wealth and convenience of the unfamiliar.

“Everything happens at sea. We are not a people bound to any land”

A shy Bajo child in the village in Pulau Hoga, Wakatobi in Indonesia on Mallory on Travel adventure travel, photography, travel iain-mallory_indo-1-69

Peek-a-boo

This seems to be the extent of their integration, their culture appears at least from the outside to be intact. A unique culture living and dependent on the ocean, which deserves to be preserved.

The police station in the Bajo village, Pulau Hoga in Wakatobi, Sulawesi in Indonesia on Mallory on Travel adventure travel, photography, travel iain-mallory_indo1527

The police station?

The group that visited the Bajo village were greeted with friendship, tolerance and hospitality, qualities the sea gypsies are well known for. The hour we spent with them, was all too brief, but provided a fascinating and enjoyable insight into a way of life we struggle to comprehend.

It is to be hoped that education doesn’t educate the Bajo out of the sea gypsies!

The Bajo women wear sunscreen sitting under the stilted homes of the village in Wakatobi in Indonesia on Mallory on Travel adventure travel, photography, travel iain-mallory_indo1528

Painted ladies

The Bajo people, sea gypsies of Indonesia living in Pulau Hoga, Wakatobi in Sulawesi on Mallory on Travel adventure travel, photography, travel iain-mallory_indo1675

Is it time to play?

A young girl doing chores on the Pulau Hoga in Wakatobi in Indonesia on Mallory on Travel adventure travel, photography, travel iain-mallory_indo1598

Working girl

A young Bajo girl from the Pulau Hoga village in Wakatobi, Indonesia on Mallory on Travel adventure travel, photography, travel iain-mallory_indo-1-74

Natural beauty

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