Bajau are long-lived people at sea, they can dive underwater for 13 minutes to catch seafood.
The Bajau tribes live mainly on the waters of the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia, and spend most of their time diving to catch fish, sea urchins, sea cucumbers and other foods.
Most people can only hold their breath underwater for a few seconds to a few minutes. However, Bajau can dive very deep, sustaining underwater for up to 13 minutes and at a depth of about 60 meters. They can scuba divers for seafood, natural ingredients for handicrafts.
Due to the early free diving, Bajau’s spleen is also larger than the average person, allowing them to move and operate underwater for longer. According to Melissa Llardo, Center for Geophysics at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, research and comparison show that the Bajau spleen is up to 50% larger than the Saluan people living on the mainland in Indonesia. The results of life under the sea for thousands of years helped the Bajau evolve to adapt to the environment.
Scattered in various places, the Bajau often live in floating villages built among areas with coral. Today, they move to the coast and live near the islets, but the lifestyle associated with the sea is still preserved.
Houses on stilts are built of wood and bamboo on the coast around Bodgaya Island, Malaysia. The water level under their feet ranges from several tens of centimeters to several meters, depending on the tidal time.
Bajau is a man of the sea who can dive and fish without assistance. They usually only carry glasses and long skewers to catch fish.
Bajau children born have been observed and gradually accumulated experience learning to swim and dive for themselves. Especially in some places such as Sampela village, Wakatobi National Park, Indonesia, adults also pierce the eardrum of children to be able to dive deeply to relieve pain.
Some destinations that tourists, photographers and scientists can go to learn and experience the life of the “mermaid” Bajau is Semporna Island, Sabah in Malaysia; Sampela Village, Togean Island in Indonesia.