Inle Lake, 2018.

We were meant to trek 2
days to Inle Lake.

An old lower back injury
saw an end to that idea.
Within hours of starting it
felt like I was walking on

I spent two days in physical
and mental agony in a
small hotel as I waited for
the others to arrive.
It takes  about three or four hours
from Kalaw to get to Inle Lake.
The easiest way is on these long, fast
boats which sit just centimetres above
the water.
They aren’t quiet.
Then you finally pull into
After missing out on the
trek I was keen to make the
most of the time we had at

I’d seen photos of the Intha
fishermen and their
beautiful conical nets and
we had a rare break in the
seasonal rains, so we hired
two boats and set off onto
the lake at sunset.
“The Intha are best known for their
unusual leg-rowing techniques. Most
transportation on the lake is traditionally
by small boats, or by somewhat larger
boats fitted with 'long-tail' motors that
are necessary because of the usual
shallowness of the lake.

Local fishermen are known for practicing
a distinctive rowing style which involves
standing at the stern on one leg and
wrapping the other leg around the oar.

This unique style evolved for the reason
that the lake is covered by reeds and
floating plants making it difficult to see
above them while sitting. Standing
provides the rower with a view beyond
the reeds. However, the leg rowing style
is only practiced by the men. Women
row in the customary style, using the oar
with their hands, sitting cross legged at
the stern.”

The stiff conical nets act as a cage to trap
fish which are then speared through a
hole in the top.
The  Intha fishermen charge to have their photos
taken. Fish stocks are dwindling and making a
living is hard.

I was more than happy to pay the asking price,
and I thought maybe we would have 15 minutes
of his time.

Instead, he posed for us for almost an HOUR
As a side note Myanmar is unique in that there
are only a few names in Myanmar and citizens
can change their name whenever they feel they
need new luck or a new life.

His name was  pronounced. “Lawmawa”. I kicked
myself for not writing it down.
His  movements were calm and graceful, never
rushed or uncertain.

It was more like a dance than fishing.
I’m still  very proud of these images.

But more  than that it was just a special moment.

As he prepared to leave to a rainbow appeared
over the orange sunset.

Chris is a photographer and visual storyteller.

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