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Meet the Bajau Tribe People- They Hold Their Breath Underwater For 13 Minutes

Meet the Bajau Tribe People- They Hold Their Breath Underwater For 13 Minutes

  • The Bajau tribe people are sea nomads that travel in small flotillas across Asia, hunting fish for food
  • Over the years, their lifestyle has adapted to life underwater and they can reportedly dive up to 13 minutes below the ocean’s surface

Imagine yourself holding your breath underwater. How long do you think you can last? Probably a minute or two max.

This becomes even more difficult when you’re not just holding your breath but diving into the depths of the ocean.

What if I told you that people exist who can dive as much as 200 feet underwater without breathing for up to 13 minutes?

According to reports, the sea nomads of the Bajau tribe are capable of doing just that.

People of this tribe live a unique lifestyle across the sea for generations that have helped them adapt to the oceanic lifestyle.


The Bajau tribe nomads spend the majority of their lives on boats that are arranged into flotillas to tour the waters of the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

Across the waters, they engage in hunting, and spearing fish for food when there is a need for food using only handcrafted wooden goggles and a speargun.

Bajau tribe

On most days, these sea nomads spend as much as 5 hours underwater, which has helped them to become masters of their environment.

To cope with the pressure of frequent diving, some members of the Bajau tribe puncture their eardrums.

According to The Guardian who spoke to a tribe member, this act cause dizziness for a week, after which they can dive freely.

However, people who undergo this procedure often suffer from hearing problems in their old age.

Read also: Meet Himba Tribe Of Africa, Where Guests Are Offered Free Sex


Diving frequently has helped people of this tribe to become super swimmers. The lung wall, diaphragm, and abdomen have become stretchier.

According to, people of this tribe also possess variants of the PDE10A gene and the BDKRB2 gene which have helped them develop larger spleens.

Although spleens aren’t required for swimming, they act as a good filter for the immune system, recycling iron, and red blood cells.

Also when humans go underwater, the spleen contracts, distributing oxygen in the blood to required areas in the body. Essentially, a bigger spleen means that they have more oxygen to expend.

Fading Tradition

Unfortunately, the way of life of the people of the Bajau tribe has been fading for years.

This is because the sea nomads’ lifestyle is not compatible with the modern era, therefore, they have been forced to settle on lands that have shallow seas around them.

Also, factors like industrial fishing have reduced the availability of fish in the area, forcing people of the tribe to seek another means of livelihood.

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