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In Pictures: Nomads of the sea
The Bajau people live on their boats in the coral-rich ocean between Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Last updated: 20 Mar 2014 20:35
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"From my grandfather to my grandchildren, we all live on the boat. We don't have gods, so my grandfather is like a god to me. He said I cannot stay on land. It's like a curse from him," says Bungsali, an older man who does not know his exact age. 

Bungsali is one of the Bajau Laut, also known as sea gypsies - an indigenous ethnic group who have a seaborne lifestyle. They originally come from the Philippines' Sulu Archipelago, coastal areas of Mindanao and northern Borneo. But they roam freely throughout the so-called "Coral Triangle" between Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, living on their boats. The ocean is their home, their main source of food and income and, for the children, their playground.

In Malaysia's eastern Sabah state, the Bajau are believed to be the second-largest ethnic group. However, their exact numbers are unknown. 

But fewer and fewer Bajau Laut still practise a boat-based lifestyle. Many have moved to live in small stilt houses built on coral reefs or on small islands. One hundred years ago, the waters off Malaysia's Semporna district were full of gypsy boats. But now, only a few remain. In the near future, there might not be any Bajau Laut left living on the boats, only legends and stories will be all that remain.


/Berta Tilmantaite/Transterra Media

The Bajau Laut, also known as sea gypsies, are an indigenous ethnic group who live a nomadic lifestyle. Many live on their boats, roaming in the Coral Triangle, while others settle in small stilt houses built on reefs or islands.



/Berta Tilmantaite/Transterra Media
In the Malaysian state of Sabah, Bajau are thought to be the second-largest ethnic group. However, their exact numbers are unknown.


/Berta Tilmantaite/Transterra Media

A woman bales water from her boat, close to Sibuan island in Malaysia. More and more of the Bajau are moving to live on land.



/Berta Tilmantaite/Transterra Media

Bajau children go out into the ocean to look for seafood during low tide. Whenever the weather permits, they take bowls and spoons and swim or crawl underwater looking for food.



/Berta Tilmantaite/Transterra Media

Bajau children play in the waters off Mabul island, Malaysia. Water is their home, their main source of food and their playground.



/Berta Tilmantaite/Transterra Media

Aranaki shaves on his boat near Semporna town.



/Berta Tilmantaite/Transterra Media

Langring brushes his teeth from the side of a boat early in the morning.



/Berta Tilmantaite/Transterra Media

Lakit is applying burak - a powder made of water weeds or rice and spice - to her face to cool and protect it from the sun.




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images:
/mritems/images/2014/3/12/2014312754103902_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/3/12/2014312755228689_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/3/12/20143127630463955_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/3/12/20143127631479505_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/3/12/20143127632213188_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/3/12/20143127632995802_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/3/12/20143127633885416_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/3/12/20143127634760860_8.jpg
captions:

The Bajau Laut, also known as sea gypsies, are an indigenous ethnic group who live a nomadic lifestyle. Many live on their boats, roaming in the Coral Triangle, while others settle in small stilt houses built on reefs or islands.

;*;In the Malaysian state of Sabah, Bajau are thought to be the second-largest ethnic group. However, their exact numbers are unknown.;*;

A woman bales water from her boat, close to Sibuan island in Malaysia. More and more of the Bajau are moving to live on land.

;*;

Bajau children go out into the ocean to look for seafood during low tide. Whenever the weather permits, they take bowls and spoons and swim or crawl underwater looking for food.

;*;

Bajau children play in the waters off Mabul island, Malaysia. Water is their home, their main source of food and their playground.

;*;

Aranaki shaves on his boat near Semporna town.

;*;

Langring brushes his teeth from the side of a boat early in the morning.

;*;

Lakit is applying burak - a powder made of water weeds or rice and spice - to her face to cool and protect it from the sun.

Daylife ID:
45a3d63aafc1466616a910ed90208c69
Photographer:
;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;
Image Source:
Berta Tilmantaite/Transterra Media;*;Berta Tilmantaite/Transterra Media;*;Berta Tilmantaite/Transterra Media;*;Berta Tilmantaite/Transterra Media;*;Berta Tilmantaite/Transterra Media;*;Berta Tilmantaite/Transterra Media;*;Berta Tilmantaite/Transterra Media;*;Berta Tilmantaite/Transterra Media
Gallery Source:
Daylife
Daylife Raw Data:
Nomads of the seahttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Nomads_of_the_seaen-ussupport@newscred.comUntitled Site10Wed, 12 Mar 2014 06:59:38 GMT http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Nomads_of_the_sea/slideshow/no-caption/13441e621df0d41c4231b7618da39787

The Bajau Laut, also known as sea gypsies, are an indigenous ethnic group who live a nomadic lifestyle. Many live in their boats, roaming in-between the Coral Triangle, while others settle in small stilt houses built on reefs or islands.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Nomads_of_the_sea/slideshow/no-caption/13441e621df0d41c4231b7618da39787Berta Tilmantaite/Transterra Media

The Bajau Laut, also known as sea gypsies, are an indigenous ethnic group who live a nomadic lifestyle. Many live in their boats, roaming in-between the Coral Triangle, while others settle in small stilt houses built on reefs or islands.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Nomads_of_the_sea/slideshow/no-caption/58103af4d489d9b2e95dd6f341e7c394

In the Malaysian state of Sabah, Bajau are thought to be the second-largest ethnic group. However, their exact numbers are unknown.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Nomads_of_the_sea/slideshow/no-caption/58103af4d489d9b2e95dd6f341e7c394Berta Tilmantaite/Transterra Media

In the Malaysian state of Sabah, Bajau are thought to be the second-largest ethnic group. However, their exact numbers are unknown.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Nomads_of_the_sea/slideshow/no-caption/186bf4f26ac56dea58a2f1098e0415c8

A woman pours water away from her boat, close to Sibuan island in Malaysia. More and more of Bajau people are moving to live on land - either voluntarily or forcibly.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Nomads_of_the_sea/slideshow/no-caption/186bf4f26ac56dea58a2f1098e0415c8Berta Tilmantaite/Transterra Media

A woman pours water away from her boat, close to Sibuan island in Malaysia. More and more of Bajau people are moving to live on land - either voluntarily or forcibly.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Nomads_of_the_sea/slideshow/no-caption/51649590a8240bbdcc546612055bee4c

Bajau children go out into the ocean to look for seafood during the low tide. Whenever the weather permits, they take bowls and spoons and swim or crawl under the water looking for food.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Nomads_of_the_sea/slideshow/no-caption/51649590a8240bbdcc546612055bee4cBerta Tilmantaite/Transterra Media

Bajau children go out into the ocean to look for seafood during the low tide. Whenever the weather permits, they take bowls and spoons and swim or crawl under the water looking for food.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Nomads_of_the_sea/slideshow/no-caption/a4345a7c2c2e7fa5091a177632332a1b

Bajau children play in the water off of Mabul island, Malaysia. Water is their home, their main source of food and their playground.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Nomads_of_the_sea/slideshow/no-caption/a4345a7c2c2e7fa5091a177632332a1bBerta Tilmantaite/Transterra Media

Bajau children play in the water off of Mabul island, Malaysia. Water is their home, their main source of food and their playground.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Nomads_of_the_sea/slideshow/no-caption/17c45da81a4e76eb95ef1e146e045f12

Aranaki shaves on his boat nearby Semporna town.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Nomads_of_the_sea/slideshow/no-caption/17c45da81a4e76eb95ef1e146e045f12Berta Tilmantaite/Transterra Media

Aranaki shaves on his boat nearby Semporna town.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Nomads_of_the_sea/slideshow/no-caption/54c80d183707fd8e1c8b06da84dc2d5c

Langring brushes his teeth onboard the boat early in the morning.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Nomads_of_the_sea/slideshow/no-caption/54c80d183707fd8e1c8b06da84dc2d5cBerta Tilmantaite/Transterra Media

Langring brushes his teeth onboard the boat early in the morning.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Nomads_of_the_sea/slideshow/no-caption/6f286165d9490a3dc9566f2c7c54d3bd

Lakit is applying "burak" - a powder made of water weeds or rice and a yellow spice - to her face, to cool and protect it from the sun.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Nomads_of_the_sea/slideshow/no-caption/6f286165d9490a3dc9566f2c7c54d3bdBerta Tilmantaite/Transterra Media

Lakit is applying "burak" - a powder made of water weeds or rice and a yellow spice - to her face, to cool and protect it from the sun.



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