Occasionally there was the screech of a parakeet. All these sounds came absolutely clearly to us across the calm water. There was no interference from the noise of engines or of aircraft passing overheard or the general background hum of civilisation. It was as if we were sitting in a theatre with perfect acoustics and watching a three-dimensional panorama of pristine tropical Nature.
Budi was entranced. For half an hour he sat on the cabin roof, binoculars to his eyes, as he searched the branches of the trees for the birds which were making these strange calls. Without leaving the boat he was able to identify seven different species, including a bright blue kingfisher perched on the rocks overlooking the bay, and a magnificent fruit pigeon which flew across the green forest slopes with its characteristic looping flight - rising up, swooping, rising up and then with a short quick glide settling into the crown of a palm tree with a white flash of its wings. The sunlight pierced the clear water and every detail of the sea floor was visible as if through glass, from the white sand underneath our prahu's hull to the green-brown shadows of the sea-grass beds near the shore. The crew rested in the shade or went swimming while Budi made a quick foray ashore to expand his notes. He returned looking very satisfied. In two hours he had identified 15 different species of birds, and - even more remarkably - had come across large numbers of Great Bird-Winged Butterflies.
Literally Lost: 12
Last week's extract came from "The Motorcycle Diaries" by Che Guevara. Despite several brave efforts, no one got the correct answer so it's rollover time at Literally Lost - the pounds 30-worth of book tokens will be carried over and added to the prize for this week's competitionReuse content