Thursday, 16 October 2014

People of Nusa Lembongan

The people of Nusa Lembongan and its small neighbour Nusa Ceningan now make most of their income from tourism. The western coves on Lembonagan are now quite developed, not with big resorts, but with bungalows, homestays, and smaller complexes, some basic and some quite luxurious. There are around 20 dive centres on the island, a sign of the fantastic diving to be found. A multitude of bars, cafes, restaurants, yoga retreats and even a chilled out cinema restaurant can also be found.

Ceningan has a few small resorts and restaurants but is a lot quieter, connected by a rickety suspension bridge over the narrow, shallow channel that divides the two islands.

Both islands have some fantastic surfing, all of them reef breaks, meaning the waves are formed by the waters rising over the shallow reef a few hundred metres offshore and therefore can only be surfed during the higher parts of the tide. There is also amazing diving all around the islands, where the variable geography creates completely different ecological and thermal conditions.

The traditional income for islanders was fishing, farming and seaweed farming. These trades are still carried out but it is not as widespread as it once was. Most farming now is subsistence, family plots to provide a little extra. Fishermen still ply their trade in narrow canoes with outriggers using lines and nets. Most morning on the beach tuna, jackfish, squid and snapper would be brought in to sell to the local restaurants.

Seaweed farming began in the early 80s, but is not as profitable as it once was. The seaweed can only be collected at low tide, so these hard working farmers must leave their beds whenever the moon determines to go and reap their reward.

Some of the seaweed species are very fast growing and they can harvest them every few week, others are slower but more valuable and are harvested monthly. Up to 12,000 rupiah (60 pence) can be paid for one kilo of dried seaweed, depending on type and quality.

The majority of the seaweed ends up in China or Japan where it is used in medicine, cosmetics, cooking, thickening agents, agar and much more. Seaweed is being rediscovered in many areas and there is a huge international market. Unfortunately for the grower and local salesman a lot of the large interest and finance never makes it this far down the chain.

Children playing on Lembongan's western beaches. This is now the clash zone between seaweed farmers and fisherman against the increasing number of tourist, dive and other recreational craft that moor here.

The narrow, rickety, yellow suspension bridge that joins Ceningan to its bigger neighbour Lembongan. Part of it was destroyed in 2012 when seaweed and fishing boat were tied to it to protect them from a monsoon storm. The extra weight on the bridge pulled a section apart and resulted in the loss of many of the boats plus the vital link between the 2 islands. It wasn't repaired for over six months, hugely reducing tourism to Ceningan and ease of movement for commuters and supplies between the two islands.

The narrow, shallow channel between Lembongan and Ceningan is perfect for seaweed growing

At low tide the farmers harvest their crop

A heavy task whilst the seaweed is still full of moisture

The seaweed is then dried in the sun before being packed for shipment, or eaten locally

Despite the obvious high levels of sodium from sea water, seaweed is exceptionally good for you, low in saturated fat and cholesterol and a good source of vitamins A, C, E, K, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Copper and Manganese to name just a few!!

The farmers stop for a shared lunch whilst they way for the high tide to pass

The temples are the centre of daily activity here, with daily offerings made and a multitude of festivals and celebrations occur throughout the year

1 comment:

  1. This looks a great place, I could imagine myself sitting and watching the World go by here. Enjoy