Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bajau Laut at Sibuan Island Sabah19 March 2011

Saturday morning.
Sipadan dot com charges RM350 for a  boat trip to Sibuan Island. When I checked Dive with Uncle Chang, it is more expensive. At Dragon Inn, we were approached by its gardener, Karim 012 819 2684 for an island trip at RM250. After checking on the boat, we agreed to take the offer. The boat belongs to AL 012 811 5804, a polite and humble chap who is also the driver.  

AL brought us to the Semporna tourist jetty to register before we can head to Sibuan Island. Each pax is RM2. We also need to apply a permit to enter Sibuan which costs RM10.

AL's boat. Life jackets are provided.

It is a 15minutes journey by speed boat (double engine) to Sibuan Island. En was excited when the boat approached the island and jumped straight into the water once it stopped.

Dad and AL showed the permit to the army officer (in red).
Shortly after that, we were approached by a group of Bajau Laut people, tried to sell us some conch shells. We learnt from AL that, they used to live on boats but have moved to the land. When the source of food is depleted, they will move to another island. 
The lady in batik, said "RM5 satu. Beli dua RM10" (one for RM5, buy two is RM10)  
I bargained with RM5, 2 conch shells. Looking at the huge shells available freely from the beach, I was comtemplating of not buying. On second thought, I felt that it would be nice gesture to buy it since we are 'intruding' on the island where their homes are. I bargained with RM5, 2 conch shells. She agreed easily.

Sibuan Island is a tiny island, locally known as battleship island due to its shape. It takes about 20minutes to recce the whole island. The huts in front of the coconut trees are where the bajau laut people live. At the end of island, there is an army guard post.

This Bajau Laut boy persuaded us to buy a coconut for RM5. We said "RM2". He agreed. Later on, we found out he has to climb the tall coconut tree and risked falling down. We paid him RM5 per coconut.  
Another two Bajau children and a lady observed En who was drawing.

Their simple homes made out of leaves and woods.

The spectacular view opposite the Bajau Laut people homes.

When the lady in batik saw me walking by, she invited me to their homes. The little girl is her sister in law. The bajau laut doesn't know how to read or write. They live in much poverty. This lady in batik (I forgot her long name), talked to me a lot. She spoke in Malay "All bajau people is poor. To travel to Semporna with their boat, without engine took 5-6 hours. We can't afford an engine boat. I ever thought of selling coconut to the tourist but climbing the tall trees are dangerous." 

This house is considered the biggest one over there.

The door is a piece of cloth.

Side view of the homes - smaller unit.

One granny lives on the boat! The strip of mollusc which hung horizontally, is a staple food of the Bajau Laut.

Children played under the shade, with the bunch of coins we just gave them.

The interior of a home. There aren't much things in it. Can I live a life of such simplicity?

Cooking something that looked like a sea cucumber!

The mollusc were hung horizontally for drying. The Bajau Laut people pick them from the sea and fry them with vegetables. The lady in batik said "Sedap" while showing her thumb up.  They also eat rice and sweet potato.
We found lots of bi-valve gigantic clam (I am not sure if it's called clam),opening and closing its shell!

Crystal clear water and very low tide to explore.

These children were on the quest of finding the edible mollusc.

Three of them walked back home. The first two taking turn to hold the youngest child's hand. I passed my only possession that I can share, my pink hair tie to the first girl. She grinned happily, exposing her yellow teeth and wore it on her wrist.

I leave the island with a heavy heart. The lady in batik waved to me endlessly. I wonder what will happen to them. If I do go again,  I must bring some colours, papers, books and other necessity for them.

Leaving Sibuan Island.

We passed by such huge seaweed farm, in the vast sea. The lines of floating bottles are where the seaweed twirl around and grow. When a line is lifted up, you can see seaweed.

 Rain cloud ahead of us.
Our boat swerved to the left and skipped the rain.  

Huge shells from Sibuan. Spider conch can be easily found over there.

1 comment:

framichele said...

Thank you for the very good impressions in text and pictures! I hope, to come next year to this island (and I am very sorry, that's not possible, to stay overnight there)