We are pleased to announce that we are working closely alongside Project Moken (as sole professional freediving partners) to create
and develop sustainable ventures to support the Moken people. Our principle aims behind this venture is to…
Learn… Educate… Support… Experience… Freedive
Who are the Moken?
The Moken are a tribe of freediving Sea nomads based in the Andaman Sea, to the West of Thailand and Myanmar. They have been a sea going people for time immemorial and have, until fairly recently been surviving very well using the fishing techniques and skills past down through the generations. Over the last few decades outside pressures have made their traditional way of life almost untenable, with commercial fishing destroying their fishing grounds, clearing the seas of many of the prize fish, all being sold off to distant shores.
The Moken are an incredible example of mans potential adaptation to the seas. Although there has been limited research in to their natural abilities, they have some remarkable traits that allow them to freedive with ease. Their eyes have evolved to a point where their Iris actually allows them to focus underwater without the aid of a mask or goggles. They also have displayed a greater production and release of red blood cells from the spleen during diving than ‘normal’ people. Alongside a generally well developed mammalian dive reflex, this makes the Moken the most naturally gifted freedivers/spearfishermen on the planet.
What is Project Moken?
Project Moken is an initiative set up by a group of filmmakers to inspire and generate enthusiasm about the Moken sea nomads. At the very heart of this project is the documentary film ‘No word for worry’, Directed by Runar Jarle Wiik. Find out more at www.projectmoken.com.
Why are Freedive UK involved?
During the research phase of his Book, Ian came across some wonderful pictures of the Moken diving and hunting. These images were from the team at Project Moken. After making initial contact Project Moken invited Ian to get involved with the initiative at ground level, working alongside them to develop ideas which would help to support the Moken and allow them to move forward in to the modern age, whilst maintaining as much of their traditional way of life as possible. As the main subjects of the film were coming over to Europe to assist with final translations for the film, we decided that it would be a good idea to go and introduce ourselves. So in June 2013 Ian took a small and carefully selected group of freedivers to go and visit them in Norway, at Project Moken base camp! After meeting two of the Moken, Hook and Ngui, we set off to plan the next phase of our involvement, to generate and create a worthwhile and unobtrusive trip for western freedivers to visit Surin and dive with the Moken.
We have also been asked, by the Moken themselves, to help teach their children how to freedive properly and safely. Bringing western freediving instruction to a people naturally skilled in freediving may seem odd, but given that the number of adult active Moken freedivers is reducing year by year, they simply don’t have the teaching skills or resources to help inform and instruct the younger divers. This is where we come in.
We are also going to be looking in to other initiatives which the Moken can use to keep their way of life intact, such as Aquaculture and craft.
We are so excited about the future of our collaboration with Project Moken as we hope you are too.
You can help too!
There are several ways that you can get involved with the project!
3: Sign the Moken tree petition.See the film here
4: Follow our journey, and Project Mokens journey, watch the documentary and share!
5: Check out www.projectmoken.com
If you like the images seen within these pages, check out www.sofieolsen.com and www.callumsampson.com.