The Lost Kingdom of the Ocean Nomads

Sari playing with a cephalopod

An underwater documentary about the last days of the Borneo sea nomads told through the touching story of a young boy and tired fisherman and their unique bond with the ocean.

Imagine the underwater world, where people who have gills instead of lungs live in harmony with nature. This world once existed…

Borneo. Somewhere on the edge of the Sulu and Celebes Seas lives a tribe of ocean nomads: the Badjao. They live like fish, spending most of their life in water. Their children learn to swim before they can walk, and adults have mastered the art of free diving to perfection. They can walk and hunt on the sea bed holding their breath for five minutes and their eyes are adapted to focus underwater. They are happy people in the beautiful underwater world.

This could be our story twenty years ago, but it is not any more.

Today, the Badjao are pushed to extinction by modern civilization. They have become strangers on their own waters with no IDs, no citizenship and no money. We call them illigal imigrantes .

Alexan, the last Badjao compressor diver from Mabul island and his 10 year-old student Sari set out to sea. While Alexan teaches Sari dangerous fishing techniques, he shares with him his wisdom and a lifetime experience as a Badjao. WALKING UNDER WATER is a story about the growing up of a little boy and his friendship with a tired fisherman, who wants to pass on his skills. Alexan cannot come to terms that the world as he knows it and that of his ancestors is over. Sari has to find his path in life in the changing world.