Saturday, December 12, 2009

Less Village Part 2

Hello everyone. So let's continue on, to my trip to Less Village. One of my goals for the trip was to meet up with the two stars of "Fish Don't Cry", Gombal - the main character and Rusman - the little boy catching fish in the beginning of the video.

I arrived at Less around 2 pm and it looked deserted. The fishermen were still out and there were only few kids and grandmothers at the compound. After talking to some of the elders, we found that Gombal was out fishing and Rusman lived nearby. We also heard rumors that Rusman was seen near his house not far from the compound. After some searching and asking around, we found him relaxing with his wife at their humble home.

I have uploaded the following videos on youtube. Go check it out.

Less Village video 1
Less Village video 2
Less Village video 3

Rusman had grown up and married, even expecting a baby! Note the "humble" home in the background. It is true that the poor fishermen only make little, that most of the money is made by exporters. I hate to say that since I am an exporter, but it is true. Personally I always try to give a little extra to help out, and in these neck of woods, little good gesture can go a long way!

After talking with him for a little time, he offered us coconut - cool!

Rusman ran up the coconut tree with ease. Dude was like a monkey!

After reaching the fruit, it is just a matter of hacking it off and letting it fall.

Rusman definitely has done this before!

Fresh coconut juice. Just in case some of you don't know, coconut "milk" is not the same as the juice inside. The milk comes from the meat. The meat is scraped off and squeezed to get the "milk" out. If you don't live in the tropics, you probably didn't know this. Coconut milk is used for cooking in many South East Asian countries, especially in Malaysia and Thailand.

After drinking all of the juice, the coconut is cut in half and the meat can be scraped off with a spoon - yummy! The first time I had fresh coconut like this was back in the Tonga.

Rusman showing off his barrier net for catching ornamental fish. What he knows will be passed on to other youngsters in his village. Not much opportunity for the local kids, so many of them will become like Rusman and catch fish for a living.

Back at Less, Rusman on the right and Awang, my driver and translator. I have been teaching Awang on corals for the past year. I hope to be able to send him to look for corals for me one day.

What future holds for these kids? Not much. These guys will probably follow in the footsteps of their fathers and brothers and become fishermen. Some will be catching food fish, while others will focus on aquarium fish.

While we were waiting for Gombal to return, one of the locals had returned from a day of fishing.

The rewards for a full day of fishing for food fish - a lonely skipjack tuna, barely enough to cover cost of living for his family for a day. I believe this lonely fish will be used as food for the family.

Note the hand made sail. Most of the food fishing boats had these things installed. I guess in case the engine dies out, the sail can be used to get home.

Another food fishing boat coming to beach. That lady is the wife of the fisherman who had just returned. Here she helps with the round logs, while the husband pulls the boat in.

I was surprised to see so many fish on this boat! About a dozen mahi mahi and a half dozen of tuna. Wow this fishermen must have been lucky to catch all these fish! It turned out that the fish were caught way out in the ocean. It took 8 hours to get to the fishing grounds! Basically the guy hasn't slept for a long time, but his reward is very good. Later in the evening, the fish will be taken to town and sold at a market.

One of the tunas, was a small yellowfin. Sometimes a big 50 kilo (100lbs plus) one will be caught. A fish this size would be taken to Denpasar (capital) and sold to exporters.

High tech equipment is used to catch fish!

Just then another food fishing boat came in. We were told that the guys catching ornamental fish must be having good luck as they had not returned. They will catch as much as they can before coming home. If bad weather or simply cannot find the fish, they would come home early.

What a surprise, it wasn't until I was shooting a video that I realized Gombal was in front of me! I recognized him by his scar on his left chest. He looked much older and not as thin. Wow what a stroke of luck, as I needed to get going to East Java. Coral suppliers were hounding us as they had prepared lots of goodies just for "Mr. Eddy", as I am called here. The suppliers wanted to us to hurry up and see what they had prepared for me. Always a good thing to hear!

And I wasn't going to leave until I met Rusman and Gombal! I hope to see these guys again and see them in action!


Ok guys that is it for today. I hope you have enjoyed the post and videos. Less Village still has over 100 fishermen catching ornamental fish everyday. It would have been exciting to see what fish were caught but my coral suppliers were waiting. One day I hope to set up shop at Less
Village and check out newly caught fish everyday!


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Less Village Part 1

Hello everyone. A few weeks ago, I was able to stop by Less Village in Northern Bali, on my way to East Java. Here are some hi lights from that trip.

I also shot some videos at Less but can't seem to upload because of bad internet connection. I hope to have them uploaded on youtube for the second part of this series.

So this is the main road that the little boy Rusman was seeing running in the beginning of the video "Fish Don't Cry". The little road to the left leads to the fishing village. Finding the village was easy because of the conspicuous sign.

And here is a close up of the little billboard. I believe Pt. Bahtera Lestari was the export company that went out of business.

A few hundred yards on the small road and we were at Less! One of the first things I saw as we drove in was this little hut, looked to be a little resting area with tables.

Cool Balinese stone sculpture flanked by two coconut trees.

Here is a close up view of the small cement structure, not sure what it's supposed to be and forgot to ask!

So this is how the boats are anchored down. The hull of the boat rests on round logs. This makes it easy to launch the boats since gravity will pull it downhill to the water.

The boat is anchored down with rope that keeps it from rolling back into the sea. You can see how the pulley device is used to haul the boat up from the water. Much better than using sweat as we saw in the video. Note the inner tube. That thing is filled with oxygen and is used to bag the fresh caught fish during transport back to mainland. Clever idea as no need for bulky oxygen tanks and expensive regulators. After all the oxygen is used up, it is simply refilled again.

Due to Balinese holiday, not all the fishermen were out this particular day. Here you can see several boats still tied up.

The tide was low when I arrived and the water was pretty clear.

Some of the boats were equipped for fishing eating fish. It looked like many fishermen take turns catching aquarium fish and food fish. This large net looked to be used to scoop up food fish, too big as a scooper net for aquarium fish.

For sure this decompression bucket is for ornamental fish. A zipper is sewed in to make easier to open and close.

It looks like aquaculturing is still going on at Less! These are coral plugs. The plug part is made separate from the long base. The base is cemented on after both pieces have fully dried.

A rusty old hook on one of the food fish boats. I wonder how many fish this hook has caught?

So this was interesting! A floating oasis made from bamboo and coconut trees. This thing is designed to attract birds that is looking for fish. So the fishermen tow this thing out to the reefs and lets it drift. They stay back from a distance and watch for birds. If enough birds show up and land on this floating paradise, the fishermen quickly go to that spot. Theoretically the birds are attracted to the fish below, both ornamental and food fish is found in this matter. I guess it really works as there were several of these things in the waters. Another trick of the trade. We would call this "fish finder" in the US!

Definitely using nets to catch fish, nice to see!

"Wilbur" was staring at me while I was busy taking pictures. This little guy will probably end up being roasted for a wedding - quick find Charlotte!

So this is like where the fishermen can wash up and change after diving. The little door on the far right was the bathroom, or toilet as we say here in Indo.

I was lucky, it had a sit down toilet. I guess I'm too Americanized for squat bowls, I really don't like those. The local food earlier was not adjusting too well in my stomach! Good thing I always carry toilet paper in my pocket, but the flush didn't work so I had to go get water from Northern Bali bay!

Couple of aquarium fish posters for reference.

Fish holding building, but looked to be empty.

There was another building next to the one above. This was also empty but with lots of tanks and a packing table. There was a fish exporting company that used to run out of Less, and my friend who used to have a wholesale operation in the US used to buy from them. Then management changed and everything went downhill. My friend stopped buying from them and they went out business. It turns out that this place has been vacant for a long time. Perhaps one day I will start up doing fish from this facility, easily can fix everything up. I can provide the healthiest net caught fish from Indonesia. Working with over 100 fishermen and suppliers at Less, I think I could really make it work!

I spotted another building and this place had some tanks running. Not much fish as I heard that the suppliers already had taken the fish to the buyers. Here is how it works. At Less Village, you have four suppliers that buy fish from the fishermen. The suppliers take the fish to Denpassar (four hours away) to sell to the exporters. Some individual fishermen also sell directly to the exporters as well.

Up this little hill was this huge empty swimming pool sized concrete pond. Like many things, it looked to be abandoned for a long time. Perhaps it was used to house brood stock for consumption fish or something sometime ago (silly me forgot to ask). But as soon as I saw the pond, I thought about sharks. This pond probably has a drain that directly goes out to the sea. Since baby sharks are high in demand and they are only available during certain months, if I was doing fish, I would keep them in here for quarantine. Baby black tips and white tips are popular even among local aquarists. Can't wait to start something up at Less!

And lastly, man's best friend taking a nap in the shade of a coconut tree. Reminded me of my brindle boxer (my baby) back at home in the US. Some people ask me how I got my email address to be and why. I tell them "joyluck is the name of my dog. I found her in the streets when she was a puppy at 2 in the morning. I named her joyluck because she brings me "joy and luck". 2000 was the year I found her and "tp" stands for Tropical Paradise, my lfs at the time.


Ok guys that is it for today, I hope you enjoyed the pictures and info of Less Village. Coming up in part 2 of this series, I get to meet Gombal, the main character in "Fish Don't Cry" and the little boy Rusman. Rusman is a grown man now and has a pregnant wife!


Aquaculture Northern Bali

November Corals Collection Part. 1

November Corals Collection Part. 2

Aquaculture - November Shipment

Coral Showcase - September 2008 Inventory

Holding Facility's Corals Collection Showcase 2007