The Moken's underwater universe

The Moken's freediving abilities have ensured their survival through the ages and are still a source of pride - the Surin Moken have prestige among those on the mainland for retaining these skills, as well as other aspects of their culture. The islands' isolated position, 55km from the mainland, mean they are cut off in the monsoon season and still have a strong dependence on the sea.

They can dive to depths of over 20 metres on a single breath, stay there for several minutes and control their buoyancy without the need for weights, allowing them to walk across the seabed or remain motionless, suspended above prey.

The Moken still hunt sustainably with spears and have developed their own techniques for attracting fish, such as blowing a stream of bubbles to lure certain species, or lowering rope with leaves attached, creating a natural reef. They only ever take enough to fulfil their immediate needs.