23 October 2009
N1 45.136 E124 31.782 – Rakit
This day was a walk down memory lane. Eight years ago, when we were finalizing our shoot for our book Sulu Sulawesi Seas for WWF, we spent five midnights to mornings with the funae fishermen of Bunaken Island.
Their hard work started when they bought live anchovies in Tanawango in mainland Manado at midnight. When there were no anchovies to buy, they would catch their own live bait. The funae boat has a huge aquarium inside the boat’s main belly to keep the live bait. Later on this belly would be the holding area for their day’s catch.
- Ikan dili or anchovies will be thrown into the water boiling with tuna activity
Then, before sunrise, they would steam two to three hours to a rakit – a 2 x 2 meter floating pontoon manned by one person, which is a fish attracting devise or FAD, 40 to 60 kilometers away from the mainland in the open ocean. Some rakit would be farther still, you could hardly see Manado Tua on the horizon!
- Anchored 1.5 kilometers to the ocean floor, this Rakit has a lonely operator with nothing but the deep blue and a radio to keep him company
- This man’s job is to light 4 kerosene pump lamps at sunset and make sure it is lit until sunrise.
Out at sea with nothing but the lamps light to illuminate the water, skipjacks gather around the palm fronds at 16 meters.
- Quite freaky to dive the abyss. Lucky us the current was not pumping!
And before sunrise, the funae fishermen will be hard at work fishing!
- Not quite sunrise, these funae fishermen are on their way to another fishing ground
- Funae fishermen in full action after finding skipjack tuna near Manado Tua
- Care for a fresh tuna straight from the hook? Where’s our wasabi and Kikkoman when we need it?
- When all the bait is gone, the funae fishermen stop fishing and get their fish ready for selling to buyers from Manado auction market