Photo: Luke Duggleby
In a small village off the coast of the island of Lembata in southern Indonesia, local fishermen battle sharks and whales with sticks in tiny wooden boats.They harpoon the fish with long spears, and then dismember them in the water (while watching out for blood-thirsty sharks) as the whales are too big and heavy to pull aboard.
Apart from being the main source of food and barter means for the village of Lamalera, primitive whale hunting is attracting thrill-seeking tourist who pay $23 to go out on the the boats and help kill these monster fish.
British photographer Luke Duggleby captured the intensity of whale hunting while on a trip to Lamalera. Based in Thailand, Duggleby has been covering Asia for the last 5 years.
Using wind, a traditional wooden whale hunting boat sails through the ocean. During the whole voyage the harpooner stands ready on the front of the boat with harpoon to his right.
During a traditional whale hunt the fishermen all have their position on the boat and keep a constants lookout for signs of whales, sharks, manta ray or dolphins.
Having spotted a large basking shark the boat holds its position and the harpooner leaps from the boat spearing the shark in the head.
Having finally subdued the shark the fishermen take turns to leap in the sea to cut up the fish into small enough pieces to pull on the boat.
With the basking shark attached to the side of the boat the fishermen work fast, scared of the other sharks.
With the basking shark attached to the side of the boat the fishermen work fast, scared of other sharks, to cut the body in to small enough pieces to put on the boat.
A harpooned manta ray is brought back to shore. The fish is too heavy to lift, and the fisherman pushes it off the side of the boat.
Master harpooners congregate on the beach wearing their during the ceremony of 'misa lefa.' Held once a year and led by Catholic priests, the ceremony is a prayer for a successful season blessing the fishing boats.
A girl carries a large bowl on her head full of manta ray fins. She is going to distribute the parts to the members of the village. In Lamalera everything is shared throughout the village, the size of your share depending on the job you perform.
Villagers receive the Body of Christ, during the ceremony of 'misa lefa,' blessing the fishing boats and praying for a successful season.
Families light candles on the beach during the ceremony of 'misa arwah,' a remembrance service held once a year to pay respect to those who have died at sea during the hunt.
During a traditional whale hunt in a wooden boat called 'pradang' men pray before hoisting the mast and sailing to the deep ocean.
A fisherman holds the penis of a large whale caught the previous year. Hanging it to dry the local men eat it for sexual strength.
An older fisherman repairs the sail of a traditional boat. Few fishermen are left who have his skill.
Two pilot whales are brought to the beach after being harpooned. Once on the beach, the body is cut in specific parts and distributed to everyone involved in the hunting from the captain to the boat maker.
Two pilot whales are dismembered ashore into rations that will go to everybody involved in the hunt -- from the captain to the boat maker.
Pieces of manta ray hang on drying racks on the beach. Three small pieces of manta ray, each approximately 6 inches by 3 inches can be exchanged for one kilo (2.2 pounds) of rice with the hill-tribe people living in the island interior.
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