Mesa Island is a world beyond its own tucked away in the middle of the Flores Sea. The island is the best place for you to take a lesson on culture. It will definitely pique your curiosity regarding the history of human inhabitance living on the island. The history and socio-cultural aspects regarding the settlement of the Bajau people or otherwise known as the sea-gypsies on Mesa Island, are not well-documented. Thus, making the trip to the island to be both eye-opening and educational. The warm and welcoming people of the Mesa Village are descendants of sea gypsies with their centuries-old history, and little-changed way of life. They are said to be originated from Sulawesi. Once known as nomads and lived only on boats, they have since adapted and started to build houses of their own. Even the homes that they build reflect and hold much of their culture and customs. Built on stilts above the water surface, visitors can see how much the Bajau people have adapted while still calling the open sea their home.
Here on Mesa Island, you get to catch a glimpse of the islanders’ daily lives – drying fish and sea cucumbers, handling a sundry shop, or processing shellfish. Don’t be startled if a bunch of curious kids come and follow you by your side while you walk around this lively island. They are just curious children who are eager to befriend you. There is no source of freshwater on Mesa Island, so the men have to go out in their boats every day to collect it from other places, mostly from Labuan Bajo. Interestingly, “mesa” means “itchy,” and the island was nAmed so due to the itchy sand. Despite not having beautiful beaches and boasting gorgeous landscapes, Mesa Island is one destination that provides a new perspective on its culture and people. The island may be small, but it is quite populated with around 1,500 residents who are more than ready to share their history, culture and language with you. Overall, Mesa is an authentic island gem not to be missed on your Komodo National Park voyage.