Photo Essay: 12 Images from a Fishing Village in Myanmar

Since I have retired I seem to find myself getting up earlier and earlier to photograph my adventures. I have had the opportunity to see some remarkable things. Before I made the photo essay of the seaweed farmers of Lembongan Island, Indonesia I had an opportunity travel to the small fishing village of Jate Taw on the Bay of Bengal near the southern end of Ngapali Beach, Myanmar. I love visiting these places because not only does it make great imagery it reminds me of how lucky I am to be doing something I love doing with my life.

Morning in Jate Taw Fishing Village in Myanmar

Morning in Jate Taw Fishing Village in Myanmar

Life here on the edge of the ocean, and on the edge of poverty is quite challenging. At sunset the men of the village take to rickety wooden boats to spend the night fishing and hopefully make a decent catch. Generators provide electricity so the boats can shine bright lights into the water and attract bait fish to the surface hopefully attracting something more prized. Sometimes the fishermen do catch something large in their nets that can be sold at a premium but more and more often now, all they end up with is bait fish. All night, when the weather is good, you can see the ghostly looking vessels with their nets in the water bobbing in the distance.

Fisherman Leaving the Boat After a Long Night Fishing

Leaving the Boat After a Long Night Fishing

At dawn families begin gathering at the beach to help unload the previous night’s catch. All generations seem to participate in the ritual of collecting the catch into plastic baskets that are brought to shore, divided, graded and processed. It is grueling and labor intensive work for a dwindling amount of reward but most people seem to be, if not excited about, resigned to their tasks. The whole scene is a feast for the senses. The smell of fish combines with salt air and wood smoke. The sound of the ocean competes with boat motors, children playing chase, barking dogs and traditional music blaring from the local temples loudspeakers. Being able to witness this was well worth the 5AM alarm.

Unloading the Catch from a Fishing Boat

Unloading the Catch from a Fishing Boat

A Young Boy Brings Breakfast to His Father

A Young Boy Brings Breakfast to His Father

Beginning to Divide the Catch

Beginning to Divide the Catch

Unloading the Boats is Hard Work

Unloading the Boats is Hard Work

Nothing is Wasted as Boys Gather the Spillage from the Fishing Boats

Nothing is Wasted as Boys Gather the Spillage from the Fishing Boats

Larger Fish are Graded and Divided

Larger Fish are Graded and Divided

Other Fish are Divided Into Baskets to Be Dried

Other Fish are Divided Into Baskets to Be Dried

Small FIsh are Spread onto Tarps for Drying

Small Fish are Spread onto Tarps for Drying

Some is Hauled Away to Be Sold as Pet Food

Some is Hauled Away to Be Sold as Pet Food

Dogs Hoping to Find Some Fish

Dogs Hoping to Find Some Fish

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Author: Jonathan Look

In 2011 Jonathan Look decided to change his life and pursue adventures instead of comfort and possessions. His goal is to travel the world solo; one country at a time, one year at a time. To accomplish this he got rid of most of his possessions, packed up what little he saw as necessities and headed out. His goal is to spend ten years discovering new places, meeting new people and taking the time to learn about them, their values and their place on this tiny planet. He embraces the philosophy that says a person is the sum of their experiences and rejects the fraud of modern consumerism that makes people into slaves of their consumption. He doesn't intend to be modern day ascetic, just more mindful of his place in the world and to make decisions according to that new standard.

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