Sea nomads in Sulawesi – Indonesia

The Bajau of Banggai island, Indonesia, are an indigenous people who live on and of the sea.

Around the Banggai Islands in Sulawesi, an Indonesian archipelago east of Borneo, there are wooden stilt villages in the clear, turquoise-blue water. Here live the Bajau, an indigenous sea nomad people, known for their genetic adaptation to freediving – they can hold their breath for up to thirteen minutes. But the idyll under palm trees is deceptive. Village elder Pa Sumurdin says that both humans and fish have lost their bearings. The young Bajau no longer offer betel nuts to the gods of the sea to appease them, but use bombs and poison.