Volunteer Blog

From A Great Height

Melissa’s Garden by day is full of life – at night the critters come out to play

Taking advantage of a clear night sky with a nearly-full moon, my dive buddy for the evening and I head out for a night dive. Melissa’s Garden – one of the most famous dive sites in Raja Ampat that also happens to be in our No Take Zone – is a shallow plateau in and around 3 small islands. As the speedboat approaches the largest island a handful of silhouettes silently take flight. ‘Bats’ notes my dive buddy, before shortly correcting himself – ‘Not bats – frigate birds’.

We watch as 10 silhouettes become 50, become more like a hundred. More and more birds rise up into the night sky from this tiny little island and we sit, mouths agape at the spectacle. Suddenly the patter of raindrops all around us breaks the silence. ‘Rain’ notes my dive buddy. So there we are, in the rain, eyes cast aloft when the grim realization dawns that it’s a clear night and the only thing between us and that nearly-full moon is a hundred and something frigate birds…  My dive buddy has to correct himself again: ‘Urgh, that’s not rain – it’s bird crap!’

So the moral to the story is this – if you’re not sure what’s overhead, it’s probably best to keep your mouth shut. Otherwise you may find yourself talking crap, in more ways than one.

Back soon with more pearls of wisdom from Raja Ampat,