Location: Durban

We had some excitement last night with some very windy weather and a heck of a lot of lightning. During Ben and Sienna’s anchor watch, Vela’s anchor started to drag along the bottom, necessitating us to reset our anchor and drop another (Margaret and Lina guest-starred here). Then Jackson and Lucia had to cower down below in the chart house as rain and lightning covered the skies. Aside from tales of pirates, this is the most exciting yet on anchor watch! Aside, of course, from the never-ending exciting conversation that staying up for an hour and a half when you really really don’t want to will inevitably gestate.
Breakfast was late, something which I still feel very conflicted about. It’s hard not to be glad about getting an extra two hours of sleep, but also, this cascaded to lunch and dinner, meaning our day has been delayed all the way down (It’s actually 9:05 while I’m writing this, which I know doesn’t sound too late, but it really feels like it). After breakfast, we reviewed our Navmaster exams from a few days ago.
Guess what? We also made a new friend today! Before lunch (yes, two hours late), Michelle, a research assistant at the Marine Megafauna Foundation in Mozambique and a grad student at Cape Town, came aboard Vela to tell us about sharks and rays. We managed to all give her the respect she deserves by not falling asleep in class. Yay, us, I’m so proud. Michelle stayed for a great pizza lunch courtesy of Nico, where we were further delayed by a pant-pissing accident and then forced below deck by some rain, which started just as we dug in. Hopefully, Michelle still had a good time stuffed down below with us.

After lunch, everyone needed to check their Spotify Wrapped, and Sienna rose triumphant, beating out Steph for the most devoted Taylor Swift fan. A very speedy passage prep ensued, after which Jake fell into a murderous rage, stabbing Allie, Audrey got a power chord tangled around her neck, Smash fell from a height higher than her own, and Steph choked, went unconscious, regained consciousness, and then had a stroke. This was our Emergency First Responder practical exam. We passed? Maybe? Honestly, I’m still unclear on that. Some subpar CPR was performed and a few big mistakes were made (I made quite a few of them myself), but I think, all-in-all, we did alright. Anyhow, whether or not we passed that, we still have (one) more exams to go, so after EFR, it was time to cram for our last marine bio exam. Or it was time to take a nap. Yeah, I took a nap. When I woke up it was nearly dark out, and a gorgeous sunset was accompanying some serious wind and even some rain! While we sat on the main boom and waved at the racing dinghies sailing by, the rain faded, leaving a beautiful rainbow. A silent disco followed on the chart house roof (for those not in the know, a silent disco consisted of a group dancing to music playing not aloud, but rather in their own headphones (I was not in the know)), and Sienna performed an Irish jig. Dinner arrived in the cold and the dark, which was honestly quite fun. At squeeze today, we learned that if Lucia had an injury, she would be a breached birth, Jackson would be penile degloving, and Margaret would be dementia.

Good Times on Vela. Tom gave us our briefing for tomorrow. We’re waking up at 4:00 am to get the hell out of Dodge (Durban(why would we be in Dodge(actually where even is Dodge(Isn’t it landlocked? (Am I overdoing this whole nested parenthetical bit? (I’ve actually lost track how many deep I am so I’ll just put a few here just in case))))))))))))))))))))). I’m pretty happy about this because it means I don’t have to make breakfast tomorrow and because Ava volunteered the entirety of watch team 1 to take the first watch, so I can get up at a reasonable time. Thank you, Ava! The sea state ahead of us may be a bit iffy, so be prepared to hear about some serious vomiting in the near future. aaaaaaaanyways,
Love you, Mom and Dad, and Tom and Clare and other loved ones who may or may not be reading.