Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The intimidation of the ferry trip two weeks ago has faded in our collective minds. I have yet to see another cockroach since the sleeping cabin of the boat. In our short time on Banda Naira, we’ve experienced quite a lot, and the time has passed quickly. I no longer stop to admire the panoramic view of the ocean on our daily walk to the site at Lautaka, and instead sweat onwards for the ensuing 30 minutes of the hike. After climbing Gunung Api, the towering volcano within swimming distance of Banda Naira, I feel that any walk where there is a human-worn path presents little challenge. Our trip up the volcano lacked switchbacks, and the loose scree and nearly vertical path (actually the route rainwater exits the mountain) made for a difficult trip. The warm puffs of sulfurous gas at the top were eerie, as we knew we were close to the crater, but could not see into it because of the low cloud enveloping the mountaintop. Luckily, 16 people went up 660 meters, and 16 people came down, two wearing flip-flops. Our days pass rotating through positions in the field, and it is impressive just how much we have accomplished in almost two weeks of excavation. We spend our down-time in the water, going for boat trips to sublime beaches and pristine snorkeling locations; once even under the light of the full moon. It seems incredible that we are one-third of the way through our time in the Banda Islands, and I am sure that the coming month will bring even more adventure.

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