Location: Malolo Island

Oh, what a day! The crew of Vela awoke this morning to a lovely, slightly overcast sky which made the early morning water look all glimmery and silver. My first walk around the boat of the day was graced with disheveled hair and smiling faces. For breccy, we dined on instant coffee (with a spoonful of Nutella for the adventurous) and an absolutely smashing frittata, courtesy of Tom. And then the activities begin! Our open water divers in training finished their certifications today (WOOP WOOP!!). We are SO proud of them and absolutely stoked to all be diving together as a group in the near future! The rest of us spent the morning practicing our handy knot skills with Kee and earning very real, definitely not fake dinghy driver’s licenses (laminated pieces of lined paper with the aforementioned slogan) with Drew.

Then, after a hard-working morning, we joined together again for lunch. This was maybe my favorite meal aboard Vela thus far: ratatouille with roasted potatoes, chickpeas, and BRIE. Absolutely stunnin’. After this desperately needed meal, we cleaned up and settled in to learn dive tables with Smash. This was such a good refresher for the returning divers and essential new info for the open water students, only made better by Smash’s upside-down whiteboard writing! Leaving the open water divers to take their exam, the rest of us scurried up on deck to mess around (stretching and friendship-bracelet making) before our first marine biology class with Peanut (Ben), who was decked out in a flashy lobster shirt. After class, we all jumped in the water and had a lovely saltwater shower before embarking on our much-anticipated adventure of the night.

In groups of four and six, we hopped in our respective dinghies and set out for shore for a dinner out. The seas were a little choppy, but that did not stop our fearless dinghy drivers, who absolutely SENT it, giving us an epic ride that left grins on all our faces (featured in photo 1). We were dropped off on shore and spent a few minutes running around and exploring (pictured in photos 2 and 7), and then gathered together under a cabana to eat our dinner. I had a mahi mahi burger, and it was FIRE. I took a few moments out of my conversation with Kara and Dray to look around at all of my crewmates, and it was so heartwarming to see everyone so happy and so engaged in giggly conversation with each other. We ended dinner, holding hands in a circle for our squeeze, where everyone shared a story about their favorite romantic date (past or plan for the future). It was adorable to hear everyone’s answers and see the smiles on everyone’s faces as they told their stories! Overall, a wonderful day.

Now, we are settling in for a slightly drizzly night of watches, but in the best company, I could imagine.

P.S. Some of the photos are from last night, where Nora brought out the friendship bracelet string, and Dray gave us a little tutorial (using her foot to anchor the string, seen in photo 9).

Catch ya later!!
– Skip Heloise