Kalau saya baring dalam bot saya boleh dengar bunyi ikan ini dari dalam air

if I lie down in the boat I can hear the sounds of fish from under the water


In the videos, there’s a new sound. It takes a while to process - a glitch, or the dolphins or Pak Uning himself? Is it you? I ask. It is -  Pak Uning Laut calling the dolphins, with that lips pursed psspss sound.

when I was young I used to dive with dolphins and they sounded like that, so I’m trying to call them - so far no response but they seem to recognise my boat. They’re there almost every time at rumah ikan, and they’re not afraid, swimming to the left and the right and under the boat. 

Making dolphinish noises across alam, glimmers of recognition around rumah ikan. I freezeframe a video filmed at night, a dolphin surfacing in torchlight next to the boat, head tilted as it crests with one eye fixed on the camera before twisting back into a dive.
It does recognise you, I said, look. Barely visible, a cluster of greys above blue, the dolphin’s eye, well who knows, an eye, an artifact.

June 2021

I wake up to multiple video messages from Pak Uning Laut. A familiar whatsapp sea by now, the compressed sound of wind and water, the chugging the boat motor as it slows, a blueness a greyness, the shape of the islands. Black driftwood on the sea surface, and then, ‘surfacing’ where lines end, a carousel of dolphins. A rhythm.  

This is the good of rumah ikan - all the small fish play around and dolphins come to eat. Two or three times now. Bottlenose, more than ten in their group. 

It’s a success! I say - No, it was a success anyway, corrects Pak Uning, even before the dolphins. Dolphins like this place too. but when the dolphin are here, ikan cencaru (in bahasa Sarawak, gerongong, the mackerel) are scared

- and bembangan, red snapper?

they’re far beneath the water anyway now, only coming back between july and december