From the Sydney Morning Herald:
THE elderly women sit in a semicircle by a smouldering fire, warming up after diving for shellfish delicacies in the cool waters off the coast of Toba in Japan. These women, called ama - Japanese for women of the sea - are part of a tradition spanning thousands of years. Their diving practice is mentioned in ancient classical literature and there's a reference to ama dating back to AD927 in Japan's Heian period.
Toba, at the north-eastern end of the Shima Peninsula in Mie Prefecture, once flourished as the castle town of the Kuki family, who ruled the region from the 16th century. Today, with its many offshore islands, Toba is a popular holiday destination for beach-goers, surfers and seafood lovers.