Location: Langkawi, Malaysia

Today started out like any normal day in port. Most of the crew woke up at 7:15, but some of the early risers got up at six and went on a run around town but back on board for a scrumptious breakfast at 7:30 consisting of oatmeal, fruit, and cereal. After breakfast and cleanup, we had a Marine Bio class where we watched one of the many Blue Planet videos onboard. After class, we were told that today we were going to tour a shrimp farm. I don’t know about all you people out there, but when we thought shrimp farm, we thought Bubba Gump style or something consisting of a few buildings, a lot of hatcheries, the strong stench of fish, and some ponds. We were proven quite differently as the day took a more bizarre turn. We met up for the taxis to take us there at 12:30, and when we arrived at the facility, we were greeted by this crazy and energetic woman named C.T. She spoke some pretty impressive English and told us we were in for a treat today. She took us on the grand tour, explaining much about the shrimp farm industry and showing us all the eco-friendly ponds and hatcheries. They raised two types of shrimp until fully grown in about four months, and they supply the entire island with their only source of fresh, anti-biotic free shrimp. But enough about that, she said, let’s get to the fun part. She divided us into three different groups and told us we were going to be horseback riding, fishing, and taking our best shots at archery. Who knew we were in for such an eventful afternoon, it almost felt like summer camp. But as true Seamester-ers, we jumped right in with both feet. In the fishing station, Torsten caught a fish right off the bat, while some of the others didn’t have much luck. Now time for some horseback riding. Let’s keep in mind that these were not just any horses but ex-polo and racing horses, so they were a little smaller in size than what everyone was used to back home. The guides were a little hesitant to let us off their leads, but when they were finally persuaded otherwise, many of the shipmates who had previous experience with riding or personally own horses back home took their turns at showing off their riding skills.

Thomas impressed everyone with his skill and agility while keeping the ex-racing horse under control and galloping around. At the same time, Court provided us with our comic relief of the day as he attempted to post while trotting the horse around. In the Archery Department, Sam E. and Coulter showed everyone up with their accurate shot and technique. After everyone had a turn at all the activities, it was time for some cooking lessons. C.T. and some of the chefs that work there showed us how to prepare prawns in a series of different ways. We learned how to saut them, steam them and fry them up in breadcrumbs with a special sauce to drizzle over. Next came the best part, in my opinion, the tasting.

We sampled them all, and I think everyone can agree that they were some of the best prawns we had ever had and, for some people, the first prawns they had ever had. As our tour came to an end and we said good-bye to C.T. and took one last group picture with her and the two horses, we all agreed that this tour had exceeded all of our expectations and laughed at what an interesting day it had turned out to be. But it was definitely not over. After arriving back on board Argo, having dinner, and finishing the cleanup, James announced that he rented a time slot at the local indoor soccer facility in Langkawi and asked who wanted to join. Eleven of the shipmates and two of the staff were so down and rose to the occasion. We jumped into two taxis and made our way to the arena. As we walked in, every single Malaysian man sitting in there stopped and stared as our motley crew waltzed in, not knowing what we were in store for. After the proper stretching and warm-up, we continued to play for an hour and a half and sweated more than a typical day onboard Argo, which is pretty impressive. We all had an amazing time and were glad that we chose to come along. I was pretty impressed with the vigor and skill that I saw on the field, and the staff members definitely held their own. After the game ended, everyone left with a glowing red face and a giant smile on their faces. We all agreed on the taxi ride home that this had been one of the most bizarre but interesting and fun days that we have had in a long time, but again just another day in the life.

P.S. Lots of love and gratitude to the Low Family (particularly Pappapa) for this opportunity. I can’t express how thankful I am. One love to the rest of my other family, you know who you are. Peace.