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Last night was one of my more eventful watches. As we stepped out at amidships, we were told there was a storm heading our way. Draped in our foulies, watch team three got ready for action. Braving the wind, rain, and flashes of lightning, we sailhandeled through the storm. We ended up gybing pretty sharply in the middle of the squall as we were trying to ease out the main staysail sheet. However, Watch Team 3 remained cool under pressure and worked quickly to centreline the sail. As we regrouped in the cockpit afterward, my heart was racing. However, we all made it out of the squall safely, and I am so proud of how well we worked as a team. We can definitely now say we have done some pretty intense sailing.

This morning was epic for two reasons. One is that we were able to see land for the first time in what feels like forever! We saw Samoa off of our port side. The second and more important reason was that today is was Nat’s 21st birthday!!! We had muffins this morning in celebration, and everyone made sure to give her a big hug.

Lunch today was enchiladas which were amazing. Then we had our last leadership class, where we held elections for the student-led passage. There were four positions up for grabs: Navigator, Engineer, First Mate, and Skipper. Everyone running gave a speech, and then the group voted. Sitting in class listening to everyone speak, I was in awe of just how committed and passionate everyone is about the success of this boat. Everyone gave an incredible speech, and it was almost impossible to vote. After voting, the winners were … drumroll… Nick for Navigator, Frankie for First Mate, Nat (the birthday girl) for Engineer, and Mac for Skipper. These four are some of the most incredible people I have ever met, and we all know they are going to absolutely kill it.

As if today wasn’t exciting enough… we had an oceanography quiz right afterward that we all hopefully did well on. After that, we played an incredibly intense game of Oceanography jeopardy to prepare for our final exam. Some particularly fun moments were Niko being the buzzer and Sam slapping Steph’s hand a little too aggressively. Then we had deck showers. Then we had dinner, which was falafel sandwiches and some bomb bread made by the queen that is Renee. To celebrate Nat’s birthday, we had an incredible cheesecake made by Riley and Frankie. During the squeeze, we went around and each composed a haiku about Nat – some were more poetic than others, but hopefully, we were able able to convey how awesome we think she is!!

As I write this, I am about to head up for my 1800-2000 watch (we are gonna have a dance party – apologies to Gabe and Amanda in advance). It’s hard to believe that we only have a few of them left. Watch Team Three has become my second family, and I am so grateful to have spent this adventure with them. As we near Fiji, we are all savoring the last moments of this incredible life-changing journey.

PS – Hey, Mom, Dad, Alex, and Chris. I love you all so much and can’t wait to talk to you. Dad – I helmed while jamming to Back in Black

Current position: 1353.43’S x 17437.35’W

1. The birthday girl (Nat) and Riley
2. Our Student leaders for the student lead passage – Nick, Frankie, Nat, and Mac
3. My Watch Team Three family