Location: Underway to Colon

Hello, again, family and friends at home! We had another day in paradise here on Vela. Some of us (me and Magdi) dragged ourselves out of bed at an absolutely ungodly hour (0612 (6:12 am for the laymen out there)) to work on our lionfish essays for marine bio. Our work was supplemented by tea and hot chocolate! While grinding away, Drew asked me to switch jobs – skipper for salon stew. Naturally, I accepted, which is why you’re hearing from me again so early. Once again, I roused the crew with a delightful song. Today, it was Something That I Want (from Tangled), there were decidedly less groans than last time, but I also had to go and do three more rounds of wake-ups so… We then had a truly remarkable breakfast prepared by Matt and co. Before a quick clean-up and jumping straight into marine bio! We learned about sponges (if you put one in a blender and blend it up, it literally doesn’t die, the bits reform and just keep growing into new sponges, crazy right!) and all the things that’ll sting you in the ocean, including jellyfish, coral, and sea anemones (who would win in a fight me or a man of war?). After a quick vote to end class a little early, we had free time the rest of the day.

JUST KIDDING! We took our rescue diver exams (TBD on the results) and arrived back where we were two (three?) days ago (shout out to the staff for moving Vela while we had class). We had a picnic lunch comprising of lime rice, beans, hummus, crackers, and salami. See, you think that sounds like a random combo, but it was, in fact, delish. ALSO we had juice. Cold juice. It was magical. During lunch, we had a discussion on the validity of using ‘good times and tan lines’ as an Instagram caption. Carla said yes, and everyone else said absolutely not.

Getting out our dive stuff for the last time for a while, we went on a snorkel in the nearby mangroves as a combo oceanography and marine bio lab. There were yellow sponges the size of us and red sponges growing all over the mangrove roots, sea urchins, and so much sea grass, and Carla and I saw a squid! Mangroves are also a nursery for lots of baby reef fish, so there was a GIANT school of baby fish swimming around everywhere. Once back on Vela, we started to ocean shower (the last for a while) when, oh no! Dylan, Steph, Drew, and Allie had all fallen overboard, and we had to save them! Allie and Dylan were quickly recovered unharmed (Dylan was’ nocked out’ by the life ring (my bad) but still brought in). Drew and Steph, however, would’ve definitely died if this was a real scenario. No one reached them until 6 minutes after they’d fallen in. Even though we didn’t kill the game, we learned what we needed to improve and will de much better next time (we were told to be prepared for anything at anytime (as long as the sun was out)). We then did a passage prep for our 12-hour sail to Colon tonight, which included running jack lines (so we don’t die), attaching the halyards (google it), topping the main staysail (also google it), and taking the loads and loads of laundry off the lifelines. Because we finished early, we had some time to relax or work on school (the lionfish essay and leadership essay were popular ones) before dinner. Anticipation was in the air because, at dinner, we were being told our new watch groups, a truly tantalizing and voyage-defining topic. Dinner started easily breezy and beautiful when suddenly horror struck! Little tiny evil gnats came swarming out everywhere, attacking our ankles and arms and face. After half the line made it through the dinner line, the staff ran for the bow, pulled the anchors, and made a break for the open ocean. Some of the little bastards hid in the cockpit and had to be sprayed down to get rid of them before the squeeze (it was semi-successful). My appreciation was seeing the cutest little squid today while snorkeling that inked at me before running away (it was truly one of the best moments of my life). The question of the day was (provided by Drew, who was supposed to be skipper) ‘if you were going to murder someone on this boat, what weapon would you use, where would you put the body, and who would you choose as you accomplish.’ I said kitchen knife (the stainless steel one), in the deepest bilge, and Tom (because if Tom’s in charge, we won’t get in trouble. I also got to announce the new watch teams (so exciting)! Anyway, we’re off to Colon tonight and are all already so excited to go through the Panama Canal!


Hi friends and fam, isn’t it so fun to hear from me? I’ll send you all the videos of the squid ASAP! Happy early bday, Nini! Love y’all!!

Also, PS for Skyler’s brother – Happy Birthday, Keegs! (Love Sky)

Pictures of the day!
1 – the sponges hanging on the mangrove roots
2 – giant yellow sponge!!!
3 – the free divers during the mangrove snorkel
4 – sting ray, we say while snorkeling
5 – view from Vela at the mangrove site
6 – students topping the boom for passage prep