Bali Salt Farmers

March 14, 2014

I watched in awe as they carried the heavy contraption filled with sea water back.

Putu, from Balifriend arrived at 5am as he said during our email conversations. He is a photographer living in Bali doing tours to people who wish to see the real Bali beyond the usual tours.

My head was still spinning from lack of sleep as I entered his car. After awhile of conversing about Bali and anything we could think of, my mind is finally awake. Or so I thought.

We headed East to a salt-farming village where the people still do the traditional way of making organic salt. The sun had barely risen and there were only a number of people there waiting for the 8am ferry that would take them to the island on the other side.

It felt like a dream. It felt like standing in the middle of a dream that you could just jump and start to fly over the horizon. The sun rising in front of me, the misty mountains, the sound of the waves, the vast and empty beach spread far with stories that needed to be told.

Putu is also busy taking in the view with his camera. From time to time, he'd show me his shot and they were really great. A self-learner, he has really gone a long way. I asked him some questions about photography and he answered them gladly. I am still learning and so far away from becoming a great photographer. I am still hoping the stories I tell could be justified by the photos that I take.

The sky was all sorts of warm colors ranging from yellow to red to orange to pink and transition to blue. Waking up early was really worth it and I'm glad it didn't rain.

Few fishermen setting up their rods. Putu mentioned that they were fishing for mackerel. After googling it, I found out it is called Tanguige in Cebuano. Wow, learned something new today. Apparently the seas here have plenty of those. Mmmm.

Small boats that the fishermen use. Similar to what we have in the Philippines.

There were small houses spread within the beach and chickens ran free around the sand nearby.

These huts supposedly housed the salt products that the farmers make. From the distance there is a view of an active volcano. I think this is Mount Agung.

We walked down a few meters to find the salt farmers walking back and forth from the ocean to the little huts. This lady is waiting for the ocean to come closer. I watched in awe as they carried the heavy contraption filled with sea water back. It's not an easy job but the salt they make are sold to the markets or to the spa around Bali. And trust me, Bali has tons of spas considering the number of tourists that fly here everyday.

It's hard work, but at least it gives them something.

The walk back to the huts. The water keeps on spilling on the ground as she heads back.

I wonder what these flower-like plants are. Are they just weed or are they really flowers? I've never seen those at home.

The shadows make the rocks look like they are from outer space. Though I haven't been there, I could only imagine this is how it looks. I've read an article once that in the moon, the shadows are completely black but that just depends on where the sun is. There's an article about how mischievous shadows on the moon are. But that's a different story.

The farmers cross paths without stopping to say anything.

Inside the hut. Putu told me the process of salt farming. As far as I can remember they start with scooping water from the sea. Then they scatter the water on the ground where they are left to dry. After the sun has done its job, they scoop out the sand and place them in water.

After several filtration process, the result is placed in several coconut tree trunks cut in half like the one below. It will then go through another evaporation process that would take maybe a few days.

After observing the farmers, we headed back to the small harbour to see the people ride a small boat to the other island. We found a curious dog walking around the beach. He had a collar so it is certain that somebody owns him.

Here's a portrait of that cute little dog.

A lonely fisherman still waits for the mackerels to bite. I wonder how far the strings could go. I wanted to ask but he seemed pretty busy so I left him to do his fishing.

Lots of interesting people walked by saying "Selamat Pagi" or good morning while flashing a smile. Friendly folks.

When we went back, the empty beach had suddenly filled up with people waiting for the boat to arrive. The sun was already high up in the sky and it was getting really hot. But I really enjoyed observing the people in this side of the island. I'll write about the boat next time. It's getting dark outside and I'm getting really hungry thinking about the Mackerels.

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