September 23 – November 1, 2013
On our first evening in Tonga, while anchored in Port Maurelle, we will never forget the incredibly loud sound of cicadas. The last time we had heard cicada song to that tune was on a North Carolina summer evening. It was music to our ears!
As the sun was setting, and we were listening to the cicadas, we noticed what looked like large hawks gliding over the treetops. However, there was something different about the flight patterns of these creatures. It didn’t take us long to realize they that weren’t birds. They were bats, and they were HUGE!
It wasn’t uncommon for us to see these enormous Fruit Bats take flight each evening. The Fruit Bat, also known as the Flying Fox, is a member of the Mega Bat species. (Did you know that bats are the only mammal capable of true flight?) Most of the bats we saw were similar in size to a large hawk. However, the Mega Bat can have a wingspan up to 1.7 m (5.6 ft). During the day, they could be seen hanging upside down in the tree branches.