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Location: Friwin, Raja Ampat

The day started with 4:15 a.m. wake-ups. They were brutal but, the reason for such an early start was well worth it. You see, various leaders on Argo arranged for everyone to see the fabled…Birds of Paradise. These birds were supposed to be the most vibrant, awesomest, awe-inspiring reptiles throughout the land. Ten various members of the Argo crew were loaded into the dingy Megatron at 4:30 for a short ferry over to the shore. The first dock we arrived at was very unstable and had many planks missing from the walkway, making it an exhilarating entrance to shore. As we disembarked from the dock and stepped foot in an Indonesian village called Yenwaupnor, the sound of drums became highly audible. The drums in question started beating at 11:00 p.m. the previous evening and did not seem to stop the entire night. Crazy, right? Most of the Agro crew were still groggy due to lack of rest but, some of us danced to the very groovy and electric beating of the drums. Ten minutes after arrival, our guide, Niko, emerged from the brush. A fierce beast of a man, Niko told us to come with him if we wanted to live, and also if we wanted to see some birds. Our excursion started as we walked through the village in the early hours of the morning, drums still beating in rapid succession. While walking through the village, I noticed lots of dogs. One of them reminded me of my dog. Walking from the village to the jungle, we had to cross a jetty that was structurally more sound than the boardwalk we traversed half an hour prior. As we entered the forest, the sweet aroma of fresh air, leaves, grass, and dirt hit our nasal factories. Traversing the jungle in the dark hours of dawn was easy due to brave Niko’s knowledge of the foliage and terrain. After a half-hour or so, we arrived in a clearing with a few benches erected around a tree with an impressive system of roots. This was our final destination. Silently we waited, holding our breath, not moving a muscle, anticipating the arrival of the legendary Red Birds of Paradise. After a couple of minutes, they began to wake, emerging at the top of the canopy. The morphology of these birds was insane. With neon blue heads, bright yellow necks, and crimson red bodies, the Birds of Paradise came close to being too much to look at due to the awesomeness of these creatures. We stayed in the clearing for a little over an hour. It was very peaceful, the sounds of birds and insects permeating the air with a concerto of blissful noise I could sleep to for days. Ashamedly, I did fall asleep momentarily towards the end of our hour as I was very sleep-deprived. Another boy, by the name of Boulder, took a nap on the forest floor, disregarding the norms of society. What a rebel. As we trekked back through the forest, the light of day illuminated the once dim trail. The foliage was even more beautiful than in the early morning hours, and it smelled good too. As we walked back to a different dock than the questionable boardwalk from previous hours, we passed through the village of beating drums. The drums had died down by this point, and everyone who lived in the village was super nice and friendly, most having smiles on their face. Saying goodbye to Niko on the dock was heartbreaking. I wish he could come with me, and we could start a life together, away from all of the madness, misery, and misfortune the world brings. Instead of riding back in Megatron from the dock, a number of Argonauts opted to swim back to Argo. As we arrived back aboard our home, breakfast was in the process of being served. We ate oatmeal, and it was surprisingly good as there were many condiments that made it tasty. After breakfast. I went around taking everyone’s temperature. It was very fun as this was my first time doing this task, and I got to say “freeze, get on the ground,” as this was my imitation of a police officer. Soon after our various morning tasks, the students of Argo had seamanship. We had sandwiches with homemade bread for lunch. Tim, the captain of Argo, made possibly the most perfect sandwich I have laid eyes on. If this captain thing doesn’t work out for him, he should consider a career as a sandwich artist. After lunch, we had a quick marine biology class, and the second group of Argonauts headed out for their excursion, which left the rest of us with some high valued free time. Most of it was spent sleeping, some listening to music, some worked on upcoming assignments. When the second group arrived back aboard Argo, everyone showered, and we set sail back to a previous anchorage. On the way, dinner was served, which consisted of various Mexican foods that most people used to make burrito bowls. After dinner and clean-up, a dance party erupted in the salon. It was utter madness. Soon after the dancing, Argo anchored in our spot for the night, which gave me the opportunity to write my daily blog post, as this is a job of the skipper. Reflecting on this day was a treat, and I hope you guys enjoy reading about it cause we had a ball. Signing off.

Pictured:

1. The Jungle
2. Argonauts trekking through the jungle.
3. Dope-looking vegetation.
4. More Argonauts walking.
5 Zach and Niko.
6. Whitney relaxing in the woods
7. A view from the hike.
8. A bird. (not the bird of paradise – those were tricky to photograph)
9. More views (with Zack and Preston).
10. The jetty.
11. A building in the town of Yenwaupnor.
12. A sick boat.
13. A super sick bungalow.
14. The more intact boardwalk (pictured by Lucia).
15. Argo.
16. JAM eating a jam sandwich.
17. The bros (Bo, Preston, Navarre, and Timothy).
18. Preston (Matty P. and Kayli in the background).
19. Dish pit.
20. Vivian and Amelia going ham on some pineapple juice.
21. Grace, Lolo, and Will.
22. Deckie crew (too many people to name).
23. Rykleigh in the gopher hole.
24. Ian.
25. Gabe.
26. Amanda, Jack, Ian, and Grace.
27. Me and Chris.
28. Indonesian village from Argo.
29. An average sunset in Indonesia.
30. Dance party.
31 and 32. Photos of the red bird of paradise. In the second one, look just above the center to see it taking off with a view of its trailing tail feathers.