Sumba is known throughout Indonesia as one of the last untouched place in the archipelago that the old animistic and monarch ways are still prevalence; it is also a place of warriors.
For us spearfishermens it is the place for fish, but there is a catch, the place is so rural that to even organize a boat will take you a week in which we didn’t have the time, so our one week there we had to enter by land, doing it the Sumba way!
On my first day arriving there I came across a local spearfishermen his name is Manase, he came from the neighboring small island of Savu he has been living in Sumba almost his entire life.
He limps his way towards me, with a sturdy yet certain kind of terror in his eyes he introduced himself, he is of average height for Savunese ; 5’6, 55kgs , rather kind of skinny and dark skin. After a brief introduction he started showing me his wounds on both his arms, elbows , from the waist down to his inner thigh in between his crouch, and all the way down to his calf.:186 sticthes later and bags of blood transfusion the warrior in him fought for his life.
During one night, a month before my encounter with him he went to do a night spearfishing, he took his wooden traditional canoe out of the channel, it was a usual night for him, everything was normal, where beyond his wildest imagination a saltwater croc came out of nowhere and took him by his left elbow, tore apart the flesh that protects the bone, the croc spin him underwater, he can see the bone of his elbow sticking out as the left arm is fully numb and un-usable he kept fighting and punching the croc in its face, but the armor plated croc only do damage to his knuckles, the croc let him go for a second ony to get him again by his inner thigh and and its claws rip apart every skin and flash that it touched, by this time he was ready to go under as the croc came bout and again, bit all his dead left arm, from the wrist to the elbow all inside the croc’s mouth, Manase manage to regain conscience and lift up his dead arm exposing the croc’s belly and with one last survival instinct in him he grabs his gun and shot the crocs belly, and save himself as the croc swam away.
Half alive he swam back to his canoe grab the oar and paddle with one hand and one foot for half an hour back to shore, he walks towards one house where he can still see the light, he bang on the door and collapsed. His warrior spirit fought his way back, “not today”, he said.