This 80-year-old man has lived his whole life in the water. And instead of making him a weak old man, it has turned him into a lean powerhouse. He’s built like a weightlifter, and at first glance he looks like a man half his actual age. He’s part of the Bajau people, who are also known as “sea nomads.” They hunt the oceans for all kinds of prey, and they have to be able to dive down deep to gather and hunt a wide variety of food sources. They come from the Philippines, and to a less extent the Indonesian Archipelago.
His training was intense. His father taught him how to hold his breath for long periods underwater, how to swim without using much energy, and how to appease the “sea spirits.” His father’s warning stayed with him forever: “Push too hard down there and you will die down there.” He lived by this code, and it has enabled him to survive to his current old age.
Eventually, he became famous as one of the best divers of all the Bajau people. Because of his ability to hold his breath longer than anyone, he gained the nickname “jago,” which means “master.”
Rohani was the subject of a recent documentary by Directors James Reed and James Morgan, entitled “Jago: A Life Underwater.” He was interviewed and revealed his life story. He shows the world his domain, the sea, and his villages that are built over his true home: the water. For Bajau people are known to spend upwards of 5 hours a day in the water. They are truly ocean people.
Even though Rohani was the best diver around, he wanted more. he had a family, and needed to make more money for his children and wife. So he crossed the ocean, away from his home, in search of new experiences and in order to make a small fortune.
The Bajau people are some of the most unique people on Earth. They strongly believe in the “sea spirits,” and Rohani even claims to have seen a man walking along the ocean floor. They also are very strongly in support of sustainable fishing efforts. Rohani says that “There used to be plenty of fish and not many people, now there are many people crowded like fish… Now we must hunt carefully. Go hunting where we’ve never been.”
The documentary is a stunning masterpiece and is a must watch.