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There's a reason we woke at 4 am, got on the tenders, and left the Katharina behind in the dark amongst the few last stars.

A reason we gathered on a small dock, turned on headlamps so we could see the trail ahead. And then, we began to 

climb past dewy vines, sweat, slip, offer hands up over steep rocky slopes, sweat, climb, grab trees to stop our slip-slide on the snot-slick clay, greasy-slick from recent rain, clay packed by expectant feet, sweat, finally turn off headlamps – light enough, but still before sunrise – trudge, slip (did I mention the sweating).

We did all this because there was a chance – not a guaranteed chance, but a chance – we'd see...


The Red Bird of Paradise.


And from those moments, and ever after, my life has never been the same.


Red Bird of Paradise, male, dancing to attract female.


Gam Island, Raja Ampat, Indonesia October, 2017

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