20 August 2009

We got off our 12-day liveaboard on the Seven Seas and hired ourselves a local floating home named Merannu, or Bajo language for “happy.”

Our 4 night floating hotel - Flores style

Our four-night floating hotel – Flores style

We swung again from luxury to basic and as always, found ourselves pleasantly surprised. Now our aim was to photograph Komodo’s people and fishing activities. In Bali, we photographed the clean and sterile operation of Heru Pernomo’s Pulau Mas live reef fish operation.

Mr. Burhan visiting Pulau Mas floating cage. His t-shirt says the fish caught here are cyanide free

Mr. Burhan visiting Pulau Mas floating cage. His t-shirt says the fish caught and sold here are cyanide free

In Komodo, Heru had one of his many floating cages in Mesa Island, a tiny island outside Komodo National Park.

One of many Pulau Mas floating cages to hold live reef fish in Mesa Island, West Flores

One of many Pulau Mas floating cages to hold live reef fish in Mesa Island, West Flores

Holding cage for live reef fish in super clear waters near Komodo National Park

Holding cage for live reef fish in super clear waters near Komodo National Park

Freshly caught with a hook and line is this bright red coral trout

Freshly caught with a hook and line is this bright red coral trout

Mesa Island was about half an hour’s boat ride from Labuan Bajo and here we spent our first night. We were so fortunate to get a sneak peek at a Muslim wedding with Mr. & Mrs. Burhan Bua, Heru’s Komodo Pulau Mas operator.

Muslim wedding in Pulau Mesa

Muslim wedding in Pulau Mesa

The groom was from Seraya Besar and the bride from Mesa. Mrs. Burhan was dressed to the nines and we just had to take their picture.

The sweet Mr. & Mrs. Burhan at home in Pulau Mesa ready to party

The sweet Mr. & Mrs. Burhan at home in Pulau Mesa ready to party

Before the wedding on land, we had dinner on board Merannu. Our first meal – mixed vegetables or chap chay, tempe, fish, squid, noodles, rice, krupuk, cucumber and watermelon for dessert. How’s that for basic?! We tried to sleep on our boat moored near the island, but the wedding festivities were just overwhelmingly noisy. By 2 or 3 in the morning, guests were talking at the top of their voices boarding their boats to go back home to the nearby islands.

Woke up to a red sky right before sunrise. After breakfast of pancake stuffed with bananas, we walked the village of Pulau Mesa, and kids followed us everywhere we went.

From the jetty all the way to the village, kids wanted their pictures taken!

From the jetty all the way to the village, kids wanted their pictures taken!

Both Yogi and I were called “Miss.” “Miss, miss, picture miss!”

"One more miss! One more photo miss!" they begged Yogi

“One more miss! One more photo miss!” they begged Yogi

In 2 hours we photographed the many faces and activities of Pulau Mesa.

Kids and their mom gleaning the shallows at low tide

Kids and their mom gleaning the shallows at low tide

Men hard at work and morning gossip

Men hard at work and morning gossip

Woman drying freshly boiled sea cucumber of all imaginable sizes

Woman drying freshly boiled sea cucumber of all imaginable sizes

Man drying fish speared the night before by 9 spear fishermen

Man drying fish speared the night before by 9 spear fishermen

Firewood never looked this photogenic

Firewood never looked this photogenic

Lest we forget them "one more miss!" they nagged Yogi!

Lest we forget them “one more miss!” they nagged Yogi!