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Location: 37,46.5N. 045,44.1W

Today started off like the past several passage days – getting up for watch, saying our morning greetings to the whales and dolphins, and passing by large fleets of close to 100 Portuguese man of wars (or “sea tacos” as we’ve decided to start calling them). Once the sun came up, we spread out a small tarp over the cockpit to provide shelter from the unrelenting sun. Even with this small patch of shade, the 30 of us would use enough to single-handedly (single vessel-y?) keep the world sunscreen manufacturers in the business. Even so, at least one person gets some minor sunburn every day, so it’s a constant battle. I’d like to tell you we’re winning, but I’ll let you decide once your loved one returns home.

After lunch, we continued working through our Emergency First Responder course before we were interrupted by a surprise man overboard drill. Scrambling to our bunks to grab our lifejackets before rushing up on deck, we raced to our stations, excited for a drill to break the monotony of the past few days. Not that they have been boring (far from it), but rather they have all started to meld together until we’re left with a mash of memories and a sense of time that belongs with Alice in Wonderland. Watch team one launched our rescue dingy, watch team 2 provided first aid to our unfortunate crew member, and watch team three trimmed the sails and kept eyes on the accident-prone crew member. After a successful rescue and recovery, it was back to class for some first aid practice scenarios.

Today was also Courtney’s 19th birthday, so we had some chocolate cake with lemon whipped cream and black cherries to celebrate. I’m willing to bet this is the first time that “Happy Birthday” has been sung at these exact coordinates, and if that’s not an exciting birthday gift, I don’t know what is. We’re so glad to have you on Vela with us, Courtney!

Photo 1: Ceci, Amos, Savanna, Fitz, Cam, and Alejandro (L to R) pointing towards the crew member to fell off the boat
Photo 2: Josh, Jack, and Wyatt (L to R) raising the dingy after a successful rescue.
Photo 3: Spencer and Paige (L to R) caring for our patient who has been successfully rescued and is feeling a little chilly
Photo 4: Courtney, the birthday girl, with her cake