Location: Gibraltar

Salutations fam!

Last night was one of a kind! Of all the amazing things we have experienced together, this is the first one that brought so many of us to tears of pure joy and excitement. My watch team (club three, whoop whoop!) was just relieved at midnight, and I was rushing straight to bed when suddenly, I heard the loud banging of watch team 1 dragging their tethers across the deck. I thought it was really strange that so many people were running to the bow of the boat. Brushing it off, I laid down to try to get my 8 hours. The commotion rapidly amplified, and I could hear muffled screeches coming from above. I could faintly hear dolphins being mentioned, and I decided to go back on deck to find out what was keeping me from sleep. As I leaned over the bow of Vela, I could finally see what the screaming was for. Words were immediately stolen from my mouth as I tried to decide if this was a dream or not.

Dolphins were swimming next to Vela’s bow and were glowing from the bioluminescence in the water! It was one of the most beautiful and magical moments I have ever experienced. The glittering water surrounded the dolphins and looked almost like a Patronus from Harry Potter, almost spiritual. I caught glimpses of my crew mates crying their eyes out, unbelieving to what was just witnessed. Even Matt, who is as cool as a cucumber normally, shed a few tears for this unique moment. There is no other crew I would rather experience this with. Later I found out that it was Julia who discovered the dolphins. While she was doing an hourly deck check for watch team one, she was feeling like the main character and decided to peer over the side of Vela. By an amazing coincidence, there they were! Julia heard her watch team to the bow, who then woke up nearly every crew member to witness the sight, (Thank you to Rachel, Isabel, Alison, and everyone else who took the time to make sure everyone was able to catch a glimpse!). Just as some people came up on deck, the dolphins disappeared. But just as quickly as they left, they would dart back like glowing torpedos, jumping and splashing as they raced with Vela. Another dolphin pod also made an appearance for my watch team just as the sun was rising. These dolphins, unfortunately, weren’t glowing, but it was still an incredible thing to see first thing in the morning.

The rest of our watch involved knot-tying and thick walls of fog that would swallow up giant cargo ships. Randomly, the fog would dissipate and allow the boats to appear again out of nowhere. Through the haze, the Rock of Gibraltar towered in the distance on the starboard side of Vela. Meanwhile, as the port side cleared, we could see Morocco, Africa. Both masses of land were no more than a kilometer away on either side. Conveniently, this is when we were ready to do wake-ups, so everyone was awake as we motored through the strait. We docked at a beautiful marina and settled in for a delicious lunch of mac and cheese made by Asa, Lauren, and Cooper. After clean up, we all gave Vela some tender love and care by doing a boat appreciation. Unfortunately for the Vela crew, there is a cold being spread around (Thankfully, nothing major, just a couple of sore throats and low energy), so having a clean home will hopefully prevent more of us from getting sick. Lauren and Jimmy braved one of our most difficult bilges to clean and were also able to retrieve Riley’s long-lost shark watch. A stray roll of toilet paper found its way into the bilge and doubled in size from soaking up the rusty water. In exchange for snacks, Captain Callum was persuaded into licking the disgusting roll.

Afterward, we were given some time to explore the marina before supper. Many went on the hunt for ice cream, some attempted to do laundry at the laundromat and a few, like myself, checked out the shore heads. Oh, the glorious feeling of a warm shower for the first time in almost a month was peaceful and rejuvenating. We all returned from our adventures for a classic dinner, hamburgers and mashed potatoes on fresh bread made by Skyler. The bread needed some extra encouragement to rise, but they made it there eventually!

We ended the day by reminiscing over Halloween 2021 for squeeze, many of us forgetting that Halloween is just around the corner. (Time has lost all meaning.) And now, after a long and exciting day, it is time for bed here on Vela.

P.S. Sophie asked that it be mentioned that she was able to clip her toenails on deck today.

Mom, Mekhi, Rob, Uncle Jerry, and Bill, I miss you guys so much, and I couldn’t have done this without you. I love you all so much, and I’ll be back home soon!

-Vela’s resident puker, Spews