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Location: 13*10.9731N 061*15.9720W

Hi friends, family, and everyone else who is following along on our journey,

Today really started yesterday night, when some of us got to go on a night dive. Our awesome dive team consisted of Mackenzie, Valentina, Max, Andrea, Sonnet, Maddie, Calum, and myself (Leoni).
After a quick dinghy ride, we geared up and descended into the dark deep. Yet, the all-encompassing black quickly turned into one of the most mesmerizing and life-filled natural wonders once you shine your flashlight into the depth below you. Once our eyes adjusted, we saw spotted moray eels hunting in-between the corals, parrotfish neatly tucked into sponges taking a little nap, and lionfish fluffing their spines and fins when our light-beams hit them. As if 30 minutes in this magical underwater wonderland weren’t enough already, we got to play in the bioluminescence after we ascended and dropped our dive gear with Smash in the dinghy. It’s a magical feeling to swim below the stars while it feels like your are surrounded by stars down below. It feels as if the sky never ends and swallowed our whole universe, turning everything into a twinkling night sky.

While I got to sleep in, some of the crew got up at the crack of dawn to go on a “dawn dive,” the divers got back just in time for breakfast, prepared by our wonderful chefs Meghan, Andrea, and Tom.
After a quick clean up the dive, the marathon continued, and students got in the water to finish the navigation dive.

Before lunch, Adelaide took her class on a “Sponge Lab” snorkel. The plan was to squirt dye into a sponge and see if its filtration of water would eventually turn the sponge blue/ green. Some of the students, such as Dre, Katie, and Andrea, were determined to turn the sponges a different color, and after much determination and teamwork, their experiment succeeded.

The afternoon was all fun and games for everyone! Some of the boys decided to snorkel over to a little secluded beach to run, practice their free-diving along the way and play around the rocks and trees. Others decided to stay on board to do laundry, study for upcoming quizzes, and catch up on some much-needed sleep. Tom, Shona, Calum, and I decided to put on our fins and masks and explore the underwater world.

Oh, what a wonderful day it’s been on Vela.

PS 1: Happy Birthday, Jay!!! Smash misses you, and your birthday cake was delicious!
PS 2: Sorry, Mom and Dad, I didn’t have any photos of myself =(

Photos:
1) Smash being a busy bee, varnishing the pin-rail
2) Shona jumping from joy
3) Calum trying to hitch a ride
4) Captain Tom and his boat
5) Adelaide watching sitting surface for the divers
7) Vela in our secluded little anchorage
8) Lots of little critters in the water
9) “Sponge Lab” crew: Mackenzie, Sonnet, Maddie, Gregg
10) Chef’s: Meghan and Andrea
11) Study crew: Val, Mackenzie, and Gregg
12) Beach crew: Anthony, Dre, Max, Bennet, Colm