Ocean Warriors: Process and Inspiration


Ocean Warriors Plastic in Paradise was written as a short story and was adapted for a children's book.  To celebrate its release in its bilingual version I have decided to (re)share parts of the original story and my inspiration for writing it.



In the early stages of conceptualising Ocean Warriors Plastic in Paradise the Friendly Drifter team asked me to write a description of Raja Ampat.  The passage I wrote for them - from which the original short story was born - detailed the journey Petrus and Novi took to the secret beach.

My inspiration for this scene came from Wayag - the quintessential Raja Ampat.

It looks a little bit like this....


I don't know that I'll ever experience anything quite as remarkable as the view from the top of that island, and if you ever find yourself in a position to climb it then I highly recommend it.

***


Petrus paddled the boat while Novi sat in the back, dutifully bailing out the water the seeped in through the cracks in the wood from which is was carved years before either of the children were born.

The oceans surface was flat.  The water changed from a luminous turquoise to deep indigo as sandy bottoms turned to reef, alive with fish, below them.

Petrus steered the boat towards an island.  Novi could see nothing but rainforest.  This couldn't be the beach her brother had bragged about.  As they drew nearer, though, she noticed a lightly beaten path through the thicket.

The rainforest was glossy.  Beads of the last rain still clung to the oversized leaves in tiny, plump, mirrored orbs that reflected the light piercing through the canopy in golden rays.  The leaf litter was soft beneath the children's feet and the smell of damp dirt was comforting.

The path through the trees opened to a rocky cliff.  Petrus scaled the cliff expertly, using the tree roots that wove through the rocks as foot holds.  Novi followed her brother, far less brazenly, but certainly determined.

When they reached the top, Novi's hands were stinging from cuts the limestone had caused her and her lungs and legs were burning from the effort of the climb.  But the view took her breath away.  They were on top of the world.  King and Queen of the archipelago.

Chains of islands snaked through the sea in front of them.  And the water - more shades of blue and green than Novi had ever seen or imagined.

The shildren skidded and slid down to the bay before them.  A silvery stretch of sand lined the waters edge.  The bay was shouldered by white limestone.  The orchids that grew on it had pale purple petals.  The delicate blooms stood in stark contrast to the jagged rock and dense rainforest from whence they came.

The ocean rose and fell in steady breaths.  Novi put her toes in the sea and let the waces whisper past her ankles and over the sand.

Bait fish schooled in a giant shadow and Novi wished she had brought a hook to throw in.  Instead she threw herself into the cool water to join the fish beneath the waves.

***

I very much look forward to sharing more of the original short story with you over the next few weeks, and want to thank you all for purchasing this book, all proceeds from which go directly back to Friendly Drifter Foundation to fund future resources and sustainable waste management systems in Raja Ampat.

Thank you SO MUCH for being and Ocean Warrior.


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