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Location: Atlantic Ocean

Hello, everyone at home (especially Jake’s mom, Jodi), and welcome to Sophia’s 19th Birthday!
Today would’ve been any day here on Vela, except for one small detail: it’s Sophia’s Birthday. Arielle took the lead on birthday celebration shenanigans, including delegating Emma to bake a “Brookie”, and perhaps a small surprise, but the birthday girl might still read this, so I can’t give away too much so major shoutout to her for really making this day a special one. Happy Birthday was sung at least twice, followed by the brit lead “Hip Hip Hooray” to the slight confusion of us Americans. Today was overall pretty sick, with a bearable and sometimes even pleasant temperature, easy helming, lots of boats to look at, and significant amounts of pan-tropical spotted dolphins. They stayed with the boat for about 5 minutes in a pod of 15-20. The 4-8 watch, aka the “wolfpack,” had a thrilling conversation about how to best defeat pirates with only 3 minutes of prep time (we decided fire?). The 8-12 am watch had a fantastic time doing all the boat laundry so we could have clean rags again, a process that took about two hours, and then the galley cheffed up some bean salad and quinoa for lunch. After lunch, we were back to our usual class schedule after a few chaotic days with the Emergency First Responder course and Devil’s Island. Today was Oceanography with Will, where we went full throttle through waves, tsunamis, and tides. Did you know that a tsunami is actually a series of waves, and the biggest one is at the front? Well, if you didn’t, now you do! Thanks, Will! After Oceanography was Seamanship, where we split up into two groups after a heated game of rock paper scissors and continued practicing SetandDrift for the Navigation Master exam. After classes, a game of Catan was started up, and Conor put up great effort for his 1st ever play, and the galley began a valiant effort in which no tears were shed (There will be no crying in my galley”-unnamed chef) and made some delicious spaghetti and meatballs with bread. Although dinner was a tad late, it meant the second singing of Happy Birthday and the Brookie consumption occurred right at sunset, which was beautiful. Unfortunately, this meant everyone had to be clipped in during clean-up, which, as far as anyone can tell, is Steph’s worst nightmare. Once we are done with clean-up, though, the St Helenian karaoke machine is getting broken out for an hour or so to send off Sophia’s Birthday with lots of songs and perhaps dances.
Mom, Dad, and Clare, happy Evacuation day! Enjoy some Irish bread for me! Lenor, keep up the swimming; you are so inspiring to me!

And now for a quick message from Sophia:

Hi, fam bam, I’m missing everybody a little extra today, but no worries, the Vela fam made it one of the best birthdays yet. I felt especially special waking up to the pod of dolphins and ending the day off with
One of the most beayouuutiful sunsets we’ve had yet. Mom, I loved my little mermaid card and all the sweet little trinkets that came wrapped up with it (I’m wearing the beaded necklace and earrings right now).
Can’t wait to talk to ya’ll in Barbados, hope home isn’t too quiet without me <3
Soph

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