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The Unexpected Feeling Episode 8: Old Wisdom and the Sea

‘Sang Ka-U’ is a village of Urak Lawoi, sea nomads who have settled on Lanta Island of Krabi province since almost a hundred years ago.  Thanks to their long-practiced sea dependent way of life, these Urak Lawoi have accumulated abundant sea-related wisdom, one example of which is their invention of a ‘Lop’, a trap used to catch marine animals.  Their ‘Lop’ trap is well-known for its durability and size, as it is big enough to contain as many as 10 people.

The Urak Lawoi of Lanta Island build their ‘Lop’ with natural materials.  They form a semi-cylindrical frame using wood from their community forest before covering it with a net.  Then, they carry the trap out to a deep part of the sea, where they will lay it.  To do this, they have to dive to the seabed, without any scuba diving equipment, and use stones to secure the trap to the sea floor.  After 10-15 days, they will return to retrieve their trap.

Such is an image that tells a story of the way of life few have ever witnessed and even fewer have experienced.  And it is the knowledge of inventing such a deep-sea trap that has enabled these Urak Lawoi natives to make a decent sustainable living up to this day.

Location: Ko Lanta, Krabi, Thailand

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