Location: Underway to Tahiti!

Last night, after dinner, our student-led passage officially began. This not only involves our six elected leaders fully taking on their new positions but also everyone else taking on more responsibility during watches. Watch team leaders are now responsible for making sure hourly boat checks are completed and determining whether or not to wake up the other student leaders. Our first day of having student leaders went smoothly, but we haven’t had enough wind to do any sail raises yet.

On another note, the game of Booyah has been going on for a few days now. I’m not sure if it’s been explained in these blogs yet, so here is a summary: As program managers, Toria and Gabby worked together to assign the other 29 of us a person and a phrase we had to get them to say. Some phrases are more difficult than others, especially for people who have a person they don’t interact with much. I was going to try my second attempt at eliminating my person today but didn’t get the chance. Drew elaborately invented a piece of equipment to check in the engine room during boat checks and asked me to relay the information to my watch team. I foolishly believed that there was actually something called a trumpet tune filter and had my entire watch team “watching out for it” during our early morning boat checks. During the watch team hand-off, he asked me to remind his watch team, to which I responded by telling Alexis to “remind Watch Team 3 about the trumpet tune filter” and immediately heard a “BOOYAH.” Alexis would like me to mention that she eliminated Miles today, getting him to say the phrase, “I don’t menstruate.” The game has been fun, and everybody has been into it. Activities like that break up the monotony of each day.

My watch team had the 4-8 morning watch. The stars have been unreal each night, and we can see the milky way so clearly. It’s cool to be on the helm at night, using stars as references. Lately, though, I’ve been calling dibs on helming during the 7-8 hour. I enjoy being on the helm while the sun rises.

Lunch was crispy tofu and veggie bowls. It was good. Then we had oceanography, in which we learned about fisheries, and leadership, in which we had an auction for character traits/parts of life we value and want to invest in (including spontaneity, financial success, education, familial relationships, etc.). It was our last official leadership class, but we all voted to have one more, merely for a discussion, at some point before the trip ended. I think that class has provided a safe space and been a source of comfort for a lot of people.
After class, we got clean sheets! Something we’ve all been excited about after sweating for two weeks straight.

Dinner was tacos, which is always nice. Nella’s squeeze question was, “If you could milk any animal, what animal would you milk?” (She was skipper today but didn’t want to write the blog). Post-dinner announcements included our new class-heavy schedule to ensure we finish classes by the time we get to Tahiti, additional cleaning jobs to be done during watches so we have less cleaning to do in Tahiti, and being told we are each allowed only one more Ramen for the rest of the passage. I think the last one was the most heartbreaking.

After cleanup, we’ll be watching the first half of the second Hunger Games movie again. Because a watch team is always on from 8-12 at night, we have to watch parts of movies twice to make sure everyone gets to see them. This means that it takes us four nights to watch a movie. However, some of us have also been slowly watching the rom-com 27 Dresses before we start Hunger Games each night because we always get to the salon, ready to go, a good 20 minutes before the rest do. Others spend the movie time journaling in their bunks, working on assignments, and, most recently, writing peoples’ cards (to be given to everyone on Day 90).

This many days at sea has been a difficult thing to do for a lot of us, but we’re excited to be over halfway to Tahiti. It’s time for movies now, so I’ll check in again on Day 89, our last night aboard Vela.

Mom, tell Owen I said happy birthday to him from the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Also, please email housing for me if you haven’t already.