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Day 3 |
May 26, 2014

At Sea, en route to Palopo, Sulawesi, Indonesia

By Dr Greg Calvert, Tropical Ecologist, Botanist & Herpetologist
Air Temperature:
1009 hPa
Weather: Fine, Sunny
Wind: 5-10 knots

It was a nice lazy morning at sea, with just enough swell in the sea to make me feel like I was really on a ship. After breakfast, I caught up with a few guests around the poolside before I went to the Explorer Lounge to listen to Malcolm Turners tongue-twisting talk “See seabirds on the seashore- seabirds of the Malay Archipelago”. I had a few laughs at his dry humour and it was a great refresher course as we headed into this part of the world.

I barely had time to have a drink and get a few other matters in order before I returned to the Explorer Lounge to listen to Mick Fogg’s lecture; an introduction to the history and culture of Tana Toraja in Sulawesi. I had visited many islands in Indonesia in the past but Tana Toraja was new for me and this lecture did nothing but heighten my appetite for the days to come. It certainly presented a very unique perspective on death and the associated funeral rites that are very foreign to those from a Western cultural background.

After the lecture I had time to sit and have lunch with a few other members of the Expedition Team as we discussed the days to come. Then someone called out to me that a bird had landed on the deck. I looked over the railings and was stunned to see a Cinnamon Bittern! Bitterns are a group of very shy and elusive birds that are only very rarely ever seen when birdwatching, and this was a new species, not only for myself, but for everyone on board. He graced us with his presence for long enough for everyone to get photos, before he finally tired of our presence and flew up to Deck 7. We were barely in sight of land so I speculated it must have been exhausted and was hitching a ride for long enough to catch its breath.

After lunch I went back to the Explorer Lounge where several of us discussed the various tour options over the remainder of the cruise for those guests who had still not made up their mind about which option was best for them. It was actually a very enjoyable way to spend some time passing on our enthusiasm for this cruise onto the guests.

After recap and briefing where Mick Fogg explained the next few days’ activities, our Captain, Luksa Plecas, hosted a Welcome Cocktail event in the Explorer Lounge.

I joined several of our guests from the United States in The Restaurant for a night of delicious food, good wine and lively conversation, but was sure to get to bed early for the early morning disembarkation.

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