Location: Underway to Denarau

Ahoy, ye land lovers, I am currently writing from our passage to Denarau, where we first started our adventure sailing around Fiji. From Denarau, we will leave the island nation and make our way to Palau on a long passage through the pacific ocean. Despite the crew getting ready for the long voyage, we still made time to have plenty of adventures in Fiji, especially today. Today started bright and early with a dawn dive, where Kirstyn, Sydney, Elexia, Justin, Drew, Heather, Smash, and myself, dragged ourselves from our comfy (and smelling of seawater) bunks and plunged into the ocean depths in search of “something cool to talk about during lunch.” While we didn’t have the opportunity to spot a shark, turtle, or the legendary Kraken (which I’m pretty sure haunts these waters), we still got the chance to see some beautiful coral, bright anemones, a pair of giant clams, and tons of colorful fish, like the Moorish Idol which is also commonly known as the “hot fish from Finding Nemo.” The early dawn divers made it back to Vela just in time to eat breakfast with the rest of the crew. Heloise baked a delicious blueberry pastry that was paired with a fantastic coconut sauce. After breakfast, we prepared for a dive once again. This dive, however, was a skill dive, which we used to practice scuba skills to better our confidence underwater. Today’s skill dive involved underwater navigation, where the divers were tasked with objectives such as measuring distances using kick cycles, orientating themselves with a compass, and using both of those skills to voyage out in the deep blue sea and return back to the dive instructor. The skill dive was successful, and all of the crew is now confident in navigating underwater, which is pretty important for safe and successful dives. While these skill dives were not orientated to us finding exciting organisms, that did not stop Emma and me from finding a sea turtle during our skill dive, which was such an awesome experience.

After the crew finished their skill dives, we enjoyed lunch in the warm sun onboard Vela. Heloise cheffed it up in the galley and stir-fried tofu for the crew. After lunch, the whole crew shivered in their timbers and bit their nails at the first Marine Mammals I.D. quiz that was scheduled in the afternoon. All of us packed ourselves into the saloon. We waited for the quiz to begin while frantically quizzing ourselves on what a long-snouted spinner dolphin looks like and what the key features of the false killer whale are, and how they differ from the melon-headed whale. The quiz went well, there were a few hiccups on identifying the short find pilot whale, but besides that, it was smooth sailing (sea* what I did there?). The quiz led right into boat appreciation, which is a nice way of saying, “Polish the galley and swab the poop deck.” The whole crew showed our appreciation to the boat in preparation for our passage to Palau.

The day ended with us sharing a communal bowl of ramen, eating delicious chili, and gazing off in the sunset as the boat set sail to Denarau. It was a really lovely day full of diving, laughs, love, and quizzes. And I am, and I’m sure the rest of the crew are, so excited to be on this life-changing voyage for the next 70 days.

Here are some quick messages from the crew:

Margaret says, “Hi, mom!”
Emma says, “I got my haircut!”
And we all say, “Happy Father’s Day!”

– Romeo