Greetings and salutations to all who may read these words. I write to you from deep between the jaws of Wayag, that most jagged and toothsome of archipelagos. Tomorrow we shall weigh anchor and make for some other isle from amongst the sea of Raja Ampat. Tonight we sleep one last time in this labyrinth of limestone, where we may dream of our days gone by here. We shall dream of treacherous technicolor reefs, of perilous cliffs rising from dense jungles, of savage currents and flappy mantas.
One may look upon our students, see them spending their days in joy and laughter beneath the equatorial sun, and believe them to be simply frolicking in idleness. Let today be a testament to the contrary. Today the shipmates of Argo toiled at academics for as long as there was daylight (starting after breakfast, of course). For the entire morning, they did present their Oceanography research topics, and there was much scholarly rejoicing. Clearly, it is the very thirst for knowledge that compels them to rise every morning from their slumber (although I did have to wake many of them up several times today).
While the morning may have been rigorous, it was the afternoon that truly showed our crew what they were made of. After lunch was the infamous Leadership Challenge Course, an event so challenging that few dared to whisper its name. The students were divided evenly into a red team and a green team. The first task of each team was to sort themselves by birthday order, without talking, while blindfolded. This took some time. Upon successful sorting, the teams were dispatched upon a quixotic quest, following riddles spun by their diabolical teacher Tim. Launching the dinghies, the teams set out across the lagoon to find clue after clue. While the boats do indeed carry engines, today, they were to be propelled only by paddle or in a pinch by pushing. Upon the beaches of the islands lay yet more riddles and trials, crossing a floor made of lava, untying human knots, and finding a rock that looks like a mushroom at low tide, all the while collecting any plastic refuse that was discovered. After hours of this merciless tribal tribulation, the green team snatched a narrow victory from the fangs of defeat.
After the boats returned from battle, two mantas glided across the lagoon. We all donned our masks and fins and joined the great flatfish in silence. Let it not be said that Seamester is all fun and games.
The first two pictures capture the primordial chaos of the human knot
The final picture should be looked upon with awe and solemnity. Here we see the piercing war cry of the victorious green team as they charge back to Argo in their terrible triumph.