(Pulau Bintan, Indonesia)
The purpose of visiting Bintan was to see Kelong.
The start was one picture I found on the internet. I felt interested, Though I looked for the precise place where it was on the internet or guide books, I could hardly get the information. By relaying on the photographs taken on Bintan island, I came here.
Anxiety about whether I could meet was groundless. It is unexpectedly easy to find it in the west coast.
"What is Kelong ?" It was a facility to harvest fish, berthing far out at sea. In the past, it seems to have been common widely from the Malay Peninsula to the coast of Indonesia.
The frame on the float is built with wood cut from nearby forest. 3 spans are a standard size and a large Kelong is composed of 5 spans. In the middle, a wooden deck is installed and a small hut covered with palm leaves is put. A fishing net is hung from the frame at four sides and it is used as a fish live net to store fishes. Fishermen makes a Kelong by themselves. It is really simple architecture, which it takes only two week until completion.
I imaged that it ran on the sea in this humorous figure like Caterpillar. In reality, it has no drive unit and it is towed with a boat.
Fishermen repeat the life pattern that they go to Kelong with a boat, fish for five days and return to the land, bringing the harvest. Fishing is practiced at night. They lure fishes by light. In the night, the scenery that fish‐attracting torches of Kelongs continue on the horizon is seen from the beach.
In the daytime, they must rest under a small roof, The hut is the size that only 2 - 3 people lie down and their head must hit in the middle back. The deck around the hut is as large as a few steps. It seems that they get frustrated by waiting for the night in this small space for 5 days. Such idea itself may be that by an urbanite. For them, living in the minimum space necessary for work is surely a reasonable style that they has continued since long ago.
The story that fishes don’t get crowded on the day of the full moon because of brightness and they can’t fish in the rainy season because the water of the sea is diluted with rainwater and fishes deeply dive reveals the rhythm that they don’t depend on a machine or a bottoming fishery and live respecting the laws of nature.
Kelong is a device that reflects the reasonable relationship that people and nature has maintained for a long time.
Early in the morning, a Kelong returned to the port, towing by a boat. A broker appeared and bought up the harvest in a unit of basket.
A fisherman offered me just-harvested anchovies and small squids. Those were fresh and so delicious with moderate sea water taste that I felt that it has been a long time since I ate such delicacies. I asked him another helping several times, saying bit more.
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