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Live Reef Fish Trade and People of Pulau Mesa

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20 August 2009
S8 31.758 E119 44.784 Mesa Island

We got off our 12-day liveaboard on the Seven Seas and hired ourselves a local floating home named Merannu, or Bajo language for “happy.”

Our 4 night floating hotel - Flores styleOur four-night floating hotel - Flores style

We swung again from luxury to basic and as always, found ourselves pleasantly surprised. Now our aim was to photograph Komodo’s people and fishing activities. In Bali, we photographed the clean and sterile operation of Heru Pernomo’s Pulau Mas live reef fish operation.

Mr. Burhan visiting Pulau Mas floating cage. His t-shirt says the fish caught here are cyanide free Mr. Burhan visiting Pulau Mas floating cage. His t-shirt says the fish caught and sold here are cyanide free

In Komodo, Heru had one of his many floating cages in Mesa Island, a tiny island outside Komodo National Park.

One of many Pulau Mas floating cages to hold live reef fish in Mesa Island, West FloresOne of many Pulau Mas floating cages to hold live reef fish in Mesa Island, West Flores Holding cage for live reef fish in super clear waters near Komodo National ParkHolding cage for live reef fish in super clear waters near Komodo National Park Freshly caught with a hook and line is this bright red coral trout Freshly caught with a hook and line is this bright red coral trout

Mesa Island was about half an hour’s boat ride from Labuan Bajo and here we spent our first night. We were so fortunate to get a sneak peek at a Muslim wedding with Mr. & Mrs. Burhan Bua, Heru’s Komodo Pulau Mas operator.

Muslim wedding in Pulau MesaMuslim wedding in Pulau Mesa

The groom was from Seraya Besar and the bride from Mesa. Mrs. Burhan was dressed to the nines and we just had to take their picture.

The sweet Mr. & Mrs. Burhan at home in Pulau Mesa ready to partyThe sweet Mr. & Mrs. Burhan at home in Pulau Mesa ready to party

Before the wedding on land, we had dinner on board Merannu. Our first meal – mixed vegetables or chap chay, tempe, fish, squid, noodles, rice, krupuk, cucumber and watermelon for dessert. How’s that for basic?! We tried to sleep on our boat moored near the island, but the wedding festivities were just overwhelmingly noisy. By 2 or 3 in the morning, guests were talking at the top of their voices boarding their boats to go back home to the nearby islands.

Woke up to a red sky right before sunrise. After breakfast of pancake stuffed with bananas, we walked the village of Pulau Mesa, and kids followed us everywhere we went.

From the jetty all the way to the village, kids wanted their pictures taken!From the jetty all the way to the village, kids wanted their pictures taken!

Both Yogi and I were called “Miss.” “Miss, miss, picture miss!”

"One more miss! One more photo miss!" they begged Yogi"One more miss! One more photo miss!" they begged Yogi

In 2 hours we photographed the many faces and activities of Pulau Mesa.

Kids and their mom gleaning the shallows at low tideKids and their mom gleaning the shallows at low tide Men hard at work and morning gossipMen hard at work and morning gossip Woman drying freshly boiled sea cucumber of all imaginable sizesWoman drying freshly boiled sea cucumber of all imaginable sizes Man drying fish speared the night before by 9 spear fishermenMan drying fish speared the night before by 9 spear fishermen Firewood never looked this photogenicFirewood never looked this photogenic Lest we forget them "one more miss!" they nagged Yogi!Lest we forget them "one more miss!" they nagged Yogi!

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Comments


  • heru purnomo

    Hi… Stella.
    very happy to look at their smile..and I hope we could work hard to protecting coral, for all Indonesian fisherman. sustainable fishing have to promote in all indonesian.
    in the past, mesah island is central for cyanide fisherman in labuhan bajo.but now they could change their dedtructive fishing. Iam so proud and respect to them.
    let’s make a
    better future….!

  • Stella Chiu-Freund

    Well done Heru! Small correct steps can lead to a better future for many! See you soon. Stella

  • ozy wes uyee

    I LOVE MESA ISLAND

  • ajid sumba

    i love forefer mesa island

  • purdiyanto

    i’m proud with pulau mas company cause had supported to conserved the environment.As i have been working in this company before.Keep going sir,