Five days on Nusa Lembongan and what a blast. Enjoying a sun, beach, ocean holiday. Far away, across the reef, there’s great waves bashing down. Waves so big, break with names like Shipwreck, and surfers don’t even dare to go there.
Going for walks, as the island is small enough to go around. Although the sun was smouldering, melting me slowly as the day progressed, I found great refreshment in the ocean. Swimming and snorkelling around.
Arriving at the island by boat, the massive tourist cruiseship and surfing lessons were obvious from afar. Getting closer to land, though, I started to see dark patches in the sea. Shadow? Or lots of fish travelling together? No. They are the seaweed farms.
Apparently, us Western people use a lot of seaweed. Mainly in beautyproducts, like shampoo for silky smooth hair (ladies…), and most villagers on Nusa Lembongan are involved in the farming of seaweed. Sounds weird, huh? Seaweed farms?!
Great farming conditions are shallow, warm and clean ocean water. Not rough, and with fertile sand. Nusa Lembongan luckily provides in all of that. Because (most of) the island is enclosed by a reef, there’s hardly any waves at the shore which makes it a lot easier to harvest the weeds. It makes the ocean look like a big quilt, with everchanging patches, dark to light, depending on the harvest at that time. All day people are going back and forth, planting, harvesting, feeding etc. All to make a little money. When the weeds are ready they’re taken to land to dry and then be sold. The farmers receive somewhere between 600 and 3500 Rupiah per kilo. That’s only €0,06 to €0,35 per kilo!
The only thing is the smell that wafts and whims around the island. Drying, salty, seaweed. Ugh. Not my favourite! But nonetheless a great island, where the people work hard and with nature to make their way. And lucky for me, we were there out of the tourist season. I don’t even want to know how many people have their scooter for rent then…