Seaweed Paradise

Seaweed paradise



Seaweed Paradise




While hitchhiking a boat to Australia, the last populated island we stopped by in West Papua before leaving to Darwin was a pretty special place. It was a tiny island that was made of only two villages. One Muslim and one Christian village. They were both covered in seaweed. The boats, the paths, the walls, the roofs, the houses… seaweed was EVERYWHERE.


Seaweed village


Seaweed is considered algae, not a plant because it doesn't have a root. It's important food source for marine animals and humans. Most of the locals call it "sea vegetable."


Seaweed on the street


Seaweed is used as a base for cosmetics, lotions, toothpaste, medicine and food.


Seaweed and children in West Papua


Seaweed farming is a good alternative for former fishing communities.


Collecting seaweed by canoe


It is relatively easy to cultivate as it takes only 45 days to fully grow.


Drying seaweed


Local islanders proudly explained they export their "gift from the ocean" to China, Japan and Brazil.


Seaweed in West Papuan village


Seaweed is bringing hope to remote villages in West Papua who were under decades of conflict.


West Papuan family


Despite a long tradition of fishing in these coastal communities, seaweed farming was only introduced few years ago as part of a project funded by the Indonesian government and the UN.


Collecting seaweed in West Papua


While sailing from Malaysia to Australia, we bought some school equipment and toys for the kids on the remote islands. We gave away some of it to a school teacher on Kei Island. Kids were excited about the gifts and struck a cheeky pose for the camera.


Seaweed and school children


By the end of the year, Indonesia is hoping to become the world's biggest seaweed producer, overtaking the Philippines.


Seaweed in front of the mosque


There are more than 10,000 varieties of seaweed in the world.


Seaweed village


A gift from the ocean!


Seaweed in West Papua


Local fishing boats are mainly used for collecting the seaweed these days...


West Papua


This is what seaweed farming looks like. Empty plastic bottles are used to float the lines that seaweed grows on. It was pretty challenging to drive our dinghy from the boat to the island and not get tangled with the lines and bottles.


Growing seaweed in West Papua