Also seen at Tablolong village: a shed where people were unloading corals newly harvested from 10 m depth in Kupang Bay. They were put in basins with seawater to be later sold to Jakarta.
We wonder whether this is a legal trade, and if it is we think it should not be. Yet the workers at the shed seemed not to be aware that they were doing something reprehensible. When we - curious as we are - knocked at the door, we were allowed to enter and look around. At first we thought the basins were for fish, but we got a full explanation of the trade.
Location: At the entrance of Tablolong village on the south coast, 28 km from Kupang.
All over Kupang Bay where the water is shallow - at Semau island and at Tablolong beach - people are cultivating rumput laut (sea weed). We were told is earns them Rp 30,000 for one kg dried weed.
The trick is to tie pieces of weed to a long plastic rope and let this float in the sea with the aid of plastic bottles. After a month the weed has grown enough to be harvested, and part of it is cut in pieces to be tied to the rope again. The weed must then be dried in the sun on racks or bamboo tables.
At Tablolong beach we met a couple who were actually scavenging on the beach for sea weed that had got loose from the ropes and washed ashore: ¨Of course we are not allowed to take the weed from the ropes."
At the beach of Tablolong village we saw three villagers working on a small boat, for use in harvesting rumput laut ('sea grass').
It's amazing how they work with only hand tools, making boards from branches and fitting them on the sides of the boat. Yet they also use modern technology: the seams between the boards they fill with epoxy glue,
Seen on our walk to the Mud Wells of Semau Island: these big shells arranged in rows.
According to our guide Ony Meda they are used for salt winning by the islanders. In the dry season they will be filled with sea water which then evaporates and leaves the salt behind.