The Bajo – Sea Gypsies

Bajo Title Pic

The ‘sea gypies’ of Indonesia are called the ‘Bajo’ – an ethnic group of people who have spent hundreds or thousands of years living off the seas…and travelling as families on traditional house-boats.

As they have done for centuries and still do, they make their living from fishing and diving for pearls and other gems from the ocean…diving up to five metres or more with only the use of goggles and a spear gun.

The Bajo believe in the importance of their children being confident and capable in the ocean, therefore they introduce their new born {just a few days old} to the ocean through swimming and diving.

Within the Togean Islands – there are actual permanent Bajo villages, consisting of groups of stilt-houses in the ocean. Whilst I was staying on Kadadiri…I was lucky enough to befriend three Bajo children, who came to visit me everyday! It was an absolute pleasure to wake in the morning and see the Bajo children paddling along in their traditional wooden canoe….or see them swimming around in the ocean, in front of my bungalow.

After quite abit of internet research on the Bajo ethnic group – it seems that there is a lot of unknown history about the group. There are different theories coming from vocal folktales from long ago, that state the Bajo people originally came from Malaysia and were sent to sea from the King of Johor, to search for his princess, whom they found in Sulawesi but the princess didn’t want to return to Johor and the Bajo people also didn’t return, they continued living on the seas around Sulawesi.

There are other theories that the Bajo people came from other regions of the world, even as far off as Africa. It seems that I need to do much more research and reading on the Bajo – if I want to discover more about this unique ethnic group of Indonesia.

Do you know any other information about the ‘Sea gypsies – The Bajo” of the Togean Islands?

Bajo kids Pic Collage

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