Location: The middle of the ocean

Aloha everybody!

We’re here wrapping up our first 24 hours of straight sailing the old-fashioned way — motor free! It has been 24 hours filled with a bunch of fun winds, some accidental luffing, and lots of rolling blue ocean. My watch team, Watch Team 1 (because we’re the best), started our morning off at 4:00 AM, taking Vela through sunrise. We spent our four hours together further unpacking Jack’s career as a K9 fitness expert, questioning whether Orion’s belt is visible in the southern hemisphereor if we’re just imagining itand sharing pet stories. While nothing crazy happened on the ocean during our watch, except for Kirstyn getting somewhat soaked by a rogue wave 10 minutes into watch, we got the chance to look up at some truly spectacular stars and improve our skills at the helm. As always, we tested our balancing abilities above and below the deck throughout the night to varying degrees of success (I turned the stern into a private slip n’ slide). At 7:30, we got the chance to play everyone’s favorite game: who is going to be the scariest when they get woken up. There’s a running tally, but Sierra is taking up the lead with a lot of aggressive “WHAT’s to her name. Surprisingly, Kirstyn and Sierra came back from wake-ups without any stories, so hang tight for updates about who provides the next jump scare. Watch Team 2 started off their morning with a tough wake-up in the form of a “guacamole incident,” in which Barbara got in a fight with the mini fridge and a jar of guacamole and lost (ask her). Once we were relieved, Watch Team 1 headed back down below to catch up on some sleep, make some progress on their literature reviews for Oceanography, or generally bask in the glory of another day on Vela.

At noon, Chef Tom served an epic bean salad with lots of tortilla chips, which was a definite crowd-pleaser. Fueled by lots of beans, corn, and onions, all students headed down to the salon for Oceanography with Heather. We got the chance to learn about gases and nutrients present in seawater. My favorite bit of information from class today was learning that, on average, the ocean has a pH of 8.1, making it more alkaline than acidic. We also learned about the importance of nitrogen, phosphorus, and iron in the production of organisms throughout the ocean. It was another great day of learning more about the environment that surrounds us and is carrying us all this way to Palau! After Heather got us all gassed up (wink wink), we got a presentation from Ethan, Perry, and Emma in Seamanship class about the various types of anchors and their features. For anyone interested, Vela uses lightweight modified Danforth anchors, and we’ve got two of them. Always awesome to learn some more about this sweet vessel we call home. After Seamanship and a lot of sweating below deck, Watch Team 1 was back on duty from 2:00 to 6:00 PM, ensuring the boat was in tip-top shape. I brought out my favorite sun shirt (this one’s for you, Mom), which has garnered me an endless number of comparisons, including FroZone, alien, worm, and turtle, and a lot of jealousy for my level of sun protection. Our team got a few guest appearances throughout watch, thanks to Ben and Margaret, while we kept our energy up with apples and a whole bunch of Nutella. Ask Sierra to give you a demo if you want to learn how to eat Nutella with a side of apples. She’s crazy good at it. On the back end of our watch, Kirstyn, Sierra, and I got our minds set on touching the water, which set in motion 20 minutes of cramming various limbs through the scuppers and shouting predictions about when we’d finally get to “pet a wave”, as Sierra put it. We wrapped up our shift watching Jack and Perry skip across the deck holding hands to let Watch Team 2 know it was time to boogie on up top.

For our last meal of the day, Tom and breadmaker Perry served some lentil curry and truly epic naan bread. Everyone chowed together and laughed as Romeo and Barbara threw lentils across the deck in an attempt to ruin the deckies’ evening. Once again, there was lots of Nutella involved. We wrapped up dinner with a squeeze question that had everyone remembering what their younger selves wanted to be when they grew up. Perhaps most notably, Ben wanted to be a crocodile. Points for creativity, if nothing else. During clean up, there was some mayhem in the dishie pit with multiple encounters with waves that sent flavorful dish water flying at the salties and freshies. and dryers. It seems Smash got a little ocean shower in the gopher hole too. Never a dull moment. Now we’re off the watch what is sure to be another amazing sunset. Stoke levels are high.

P.S. Kee just told me Orion is visible.

P.P.S. Hi Mom, Dad, Nana, Pop, and Cracker <3 (and Grace and Aidan if you happen to be reading this).