Japan's "ama" divers: The tradition of ama diving dates back centuries, with references to these "women of the sea" first recorded around 5,000 years ago. While the industry was once thriving, today only about 2,000 ama divers remain in Japan.
Women of the sea: Sayuri Nakamura, 64, and her fellow ama reboard the boat after a morning's work. Sayuri is part of a team of five female ama that dives for seafood almost daily in the waters in and around Japan's Toba City.
A weighty task: As the ama divers descend, their blue, yellow and green fins are the last thing to disappear into the sea. The women on this team typically dive from 33-50 feet in depth. They tie heavy weights around their waists to help them descend quicker.
Heading out: About 800 of Japan's 2,000 or so ama -- including this team -- resides in the Ise-Shima area of Japan's Mie prefecture.
A dying profession: Sayuri empties her sukari as the boat heads back to shore. Like her, many ama are in their 60s and have been diving their entire adult lives.
The family business: Sayuri's younger sister Yoshino, pictured, is also on the team.
Sea cucumbers: Depending on what the local Ama Association designates that day, divers spend between 1.5-2 hours each morning in the sea, searching for everything from sea cucumbers, seaweed and turban shells to their prize catch: abalone.
Catch of the day: Once reaching port, the divers haul their buckets to a nearby market, where the catch is then sorted and weighed. It's here that they will find out how much money they made that day.
Ama goya: Afterward, the women head off to their ama goya, or hut -- seen here in the foreground -- to light a fire, warm up and enjoy a snack.
Post-work feast: Inside the goya, one of the divers cooks up abalone, sea urchin and sea snails.