A donation from the Bajao Sea Gypsies - fresh sweetlips for dinner. 😊
Known long ago as the legendary ‘Spice Islands’, it’s amazing to think that these now nearly deserted islands were once the epicenter of globalization and world trade. That there’s barely a trace of of the development that existed here hundreds of years ago is a quiet reminder of the impermanence of everything on this earth - and offers some hope that when left alone, wildness, wilderness, and nature can win.
This photo is from an incredible trip to visit the Koon Island marine sanctuary with @wwf and @wwf_id a few years ago. To reach the island, we traveled for more than 20 hours from Ambon by van, boat, perahu, and even on foot until we came to this unbelievable part of Indonesia.
Before catching the boat to Koon, we stayed with the local king on his island nearby and were greeted with an elaborate dance ceremony by some of the friendliest Indonesians I’ve ever met (which is saying a lot!). Koon Island is an important breeding site for groupers, and during each full moon, these fish gather by the thousands at the coral reef here. Protecting the future of fisherfolk in the area depends on the survival of these fish, so it was encouraging to see the support from the king and the local community to protect them.
On the last day, we met a family of bajau sea gypsies fishing with their traditional hand spears - it was amazing to spend some time with them and imagine what it might be like to spend your entire life away from land.
Not an easy place to reach, but really an unforgettable trip and thanks so much to Lida, @wwf, @wwf_id, the king, the WWF Indonesia staff, and all the welcoming Maluku Islanders we met along the way.
Thanks also to @liquideyewaterhousings and #ForceFins for keeping me mobile in the water!