Location: Underway to Wayag

Hello everyone at home,

We are coming to you live from Indonesia, a much-anticipated destination for Argo and her crew. In case you didn’t know, Argo was originally planning to come to Indonesia in the summer, but as fate would have it, we ended up in Palau instead. That was basically the best change of plans possible because our time in Palau was incredible! But now we are very excited to finally be in Indonesia. As program manager, I do a lot of planning and research, and scheduling of our time in the various locations we go. Way back in June, I had found this amazing spot called Wayag in Indonesia that I was really hoping Argo could visit. At the time, it would have been very far out of our way and just wasn’t going to be an option for us. But I’m so excited to say that today, due to our ever-changing plans and the development of coming to Raja Ampat, we were able to come to Wayag! It is absolutely beautiful, and I encourage all of you at home to Google it immediately. We will, of course, post photos when we can, but there will not be a cell signal or internet connection, so we won’t be able to include too many for a few days.

We woke up this morning in Waisai, the main town in Raja Ampat. We spent a stormy night at anchor there after getting our permits for diving and moving around the marine protected areas of Raja. We had some delicious fresh fruit salad with our yogurt and granola for breakfast, which was a welcome treat for everyone after a passage. The produce in Palau was somewhat limited, but Lolo and I stocked up on a bunch of fruits and veggies for the boat before we departed Sorong yesterday. After the sweet mango, papaya, and bananas were consumed, we raised anchor and started our ~80-mile passage to Wayag. Watch Team 2 began the watch rotation, while the royal barber (aka me) began more haircuts to commemorate our equator crossing a few days ago what most of the students didn’t know when we first started moving, as we actually were going to cross the equator again TODAY! We think in total, we will likely cross it four times this semester before it is all said and done. With some buzzcuts, a few undercuts, and mullet, and some daylight touchups, the morning brightened up to a sunny afternoon. If not on watch, the students played games in the salon, worked on their upcoming lit review papers for oceanography, and rested. If you think some of the haircuts are strange, they asked for them and showed me pictures of what they wanted, and don’t worry. It’ll grow back!

Lunch was a hearty and tasty curry and was followed by leadership class and marine biology class. In leadership, they discussed community formation; in marine biology, they started learning about sponges and cnidarians. Then we had the ever refreshing deck showers to finish up the afternoon. On bow watch right before dinner, Vivian and Gordon saw a breaching manta ray! For dinner, accompanied by a beautiful sunset, we had a roast for dinner complete with roasted chicken, potatoes, carrots, stuffing, gravy, and chickpeas for the vegetarians. It was very satisfying and felt like a holiday dinner. The squeeze question for tonight was, “What is your proudest moment?” We had some great answers, including people graduating high school, college, or grad school, the first time landing a plane, winning awards for their sport, and having the courage to make a big change in their lives. I’m personally very proud of everyone on board for what we have already accomplished together. These students may have only been on board for a month, but they have come together and learned a lot. And we look forward to many more proud moments and accomplishments together as a crew. But for now, we’ll be busy snorkeling, diving, and looking for mantas and other amazing sea creatures here in Raja Ampat! We are currently less than an hour from our anchorage in Wayag, and we can’t wait to wake up tomorrow and see this beautiful new spot!

Amanda Shuman’s wave
Amelia’s edgy new haircut
Preston as Ang from Avatar The Last Airbender
Sid’s mullet
Moonbow after we got anchored in Wayag