The disappearing world of Sea Gypsies

The disappearing world of Sea Gypsies

Categories: Asia | Nations | Photo project | Water

Photographer David Kashlikowski captured the life of the Bajo people — a tribe of nomadic seafarers who live in the seas between Borneo, Indonesia and the Philippines. 

"Their traditional way of life is disappearing before our eyes," says Kashlikowski. Due to the globalization of the Bajo people, it is increasingly difficult to maintain their sea nomadic lifestyle. They are born at sea, they do not have passports and citizenship.

For thousands of years, representatives of the bajo have been living on boats, sticking to the shore only to collect firewood — and bury their dead. Some live in houses on stilts.

Representatives of this nation can hold their breath for five minutes - for sea hunting. Their eyes are adapted to see underwater. 

Now the Baggio are gradually moving to the land - to the slums. Those who remain at sea are forced to compete with large fishing vessels, which forces them to dive deeper and deeper.

The disappearing world of Sea Gypsies

Photo: David Kaszlikowski/REX Shutterstock

The disappearing world of Sea Gypsies

Diving using equipment on the surface of the water is a very dangerous type of fishing. Divers entrust their lives to old motors and compressors on boats, which often makes them disabled.

The disappearing world of Sea Gypsies

Inside the house on stilts.

The disappearing world of Sea Gypsies

Some bajo are able to hold their breath for five minutes.

The disappearing world of Sea Gypsies

Bajo children are born at sea or in coastal huts, they have no documents, the only world they know is the sea.

The disappearing world of Sea Gypsies

Octopus fishing.

The disappearing world of Sea Gypsies

The disappearing world of Sea Gypsies

The disappearing world of Sea Gypsies

Bajo families eat, sleep and hunt by boat.

The disappearing world of Sea Gypsies

The disappearing world of Sea Gypsies

The disappearing world of Sea Gypsies

The disappearing world of Sea Gypsies

The disappearing world of Sea Gypsies

The disappearing world of Sea Gypsies

Overfishing and climate change are the reason for the decrease in the number of fish in tropical seas. This makes the life of sea gypsies more and more difficult.

The disappearing world of Sea Gypsies

The disappearing world of Sea Gypsies

Houses on stilts in shallow water.

The disappearing world of Sea Gypsies

Economic difficulties and the governments of countries are forcing Bajo to move to land. Thousands of people are gathering in slums near tourist towns.

The disappearing world of Sea Gypsies

The disappearing world of Sea Gypsies

The disappearing world of Sea Gypsies

The disappearing world of Sea Gypsies

The disappearing world of Sea Gypsies

Traditional sun mask.

The disappearing world of Sea Gypsies

The disappearing world of Sea Gypsies

Boat house.

The disappearing world of Sea Gypsies

In the slums on land.

The disappearing world of Sea Gypsies

The disappearing world of Sea Gypsies

The disappearing world of Sea Gypsies

The disappearing world of Sea Gypsies

Eagle.

The disappearing world of Sea Gypsies

The disappearing world of Sea Gypsies

The disappearing world of Sea Gypsies

The disappearing world of Sea Gypsies

The disappearing world of Sea Gypsies

The disappearing world of Sea Gypsies

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