2 – 12 November 2009
To many divers around the world, Wakatobi South Sulawesi is an underwater destination. Wakatobi, which is short for its many islands, stands for Wangi-Wangi, Kaledupa, Tomia & Binongko. We went to all these islands and beyond with WWF Indonesia and its partner agency TNC. We didn’t do much diving here. Rather, we spent of our days documenting the most interesting people who live here.
The Bajo village (sea gypsies otherwise known as Bajau in Sabah or Badjao in the Philippines) of Sama Bahari, Kaledupa had a visiting trader boat from far away Roti Island selling liquid palm sugar or gula air. Roti is the southermost inhabited island of Indonesia in East Nusa Tenggara Timor.
In Tomia, we visited a traditional jewelry repair craftsman. The tools of his trade had the patina of age and careful use.
The jewelry he was hired to repair were from people who cared for their precious possessions. Quite a refreshing contrast from the new disposable world we live in — I think I prefer the ways of the old world.
Wakatobi was also known as Tukang Besi Islands. Tukang besi means blacksmith and in Binongko, we visited renowned machete makers forging spring steel from car springs into sharp knives that is guaranteed to cut.