Image: HA’a (Robert Berman)
They may look like regular folks frolicking in the water on a hot summer’s day, but they’re really much more remarkable than that. They are the Moken, a group of about 2,000 to 3,000 people who are born, live and die traveling the Andaman Sea around Southern Thailand and Myanmar (Burma). Settling only during monsoon season, these “Sea Gypsies” live more than half the year in boats called kabang, each made from a single tree. They are master fishermen and expert divers, catching fish on spears with ease, while collecting a variety of other fruits of the sea by hand, such as sea cucumbers at low tide and shellfish at high tide.