Location: Navadra, Fiji

Today was a mix of above water, below water, and animals in the water! To begin, a flock of giant bats ran circuits around Vela’s mast at the crack of dawn, immediately followed by a school of Black Tip Reef sharks that hung around for the entire day. Fortunately, they showed no interest in people, only in chasing fish and hanging out in the shade of Vela’s hull. The focus of the day was, as always, on being in the water. After a hearty breakfast of Bacon, Eggs, and Potatoes, we set off in Tia and Ang Karn to a beautiful reef surrounding the entire cove. Most of the morning and the early afternoon were spent milling around underwater, learning to control buoyancy and take bite-sized breaths to make our air last as long as possible. Once the Dives finished for the day, Members of the Crew took students out to earn their Dingy Certifications and learn the proper methods of docking to a larger vessel.

After the diving and boating were through, the students had their first Oceanography class with Heather. This marks the beginning of the academic side of the trip and sets a new standard for cool professors! Taking a class in Vela’s saloon is like no other classroom out there. Hearing the quiet lapping of waves along the hull as we learn about the ocean, the very body of water that surrounds us on all sides is unreal. The enthusiasm that all crew and students show both while in class and on deck, even this soon into our adventure, bodes well for the rest of our journey.

Although we have only been together for a week, everyone aboard Vela is quickly beginning to feel like a family. Everyone here is eager to learn and have fun while also being serious about keeping things tidy and neat. As we creep closer to our destination, I can’t help but enjoy every minute of my time on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!