Every day at dusk the bats set off from their perches high in the mangroves that line the beaches and creeks of Milingimbi. They have been resting up here all day and now it is time to head to the billabong at the towns end where for about half an hour they perform a ducking and diving ritual; in and out of the fresh water before taking off to settle for the evening in the branches of the surrounding trees.
Local stories translated say that the Octopus lives in this billabong. With its many colours, It is like a rainbow which represents all spirits passed. It is responsible for guiding the spirit to its next phase and to ensure that it doesn’t get lost or trapped on its way. The bats duck and dive into the water to retrieve the spirits and then take them upward to the sky where they release and send them on their way to their final resting place amongst the stars.