Location: Colon, Panama

Waking up this morning, I was surprised to learn that I was skipper, waking up with a jolt at 7:10 to Morana asking with a bewildered look, “Aren’t you skipper today, Owen?” to which I replied, “Am I?”. I’m sure that my parents will be thrilled to hear that. By the way, what up, Mom and Dad! Anyway, It’s an exciting time on Vela, as we learned that we would start our journey through the Panama Canal tomorrow evening. I really am thrilled to be fortunate enough to have an opportunity to transit through one of this world’s wonders. We also learned that we would be joined by a canal pilot who would be helping and advising us as we go through the canal. Today I learned of the joys of being skipper, i.e., having to wrangle 23 other 18-22-year-olds who want nothing more than to sleep or be left alone, up on deck to eat during meal times. It’s surprisingly difficult. I am one of the last skippers of this rotation, so I’ve heard plenty of complaints from my predecessors, and I found out that they weren’t lying. I definitely will be more responsive to the future skippers now that I know the frustration that comes with telling 23 other people the same thing a minimum of 4 times before they listen. These are all jokes, though; I don’t want to give anyone the wrong impression. Everyone in our group is great, and we are all getting closer as the days keep ticking by. Honestly, I’m struggling to think of things to write about, as today was pretty lowkey. This morning we went over our practice exams for Nav. Master class, shout out to Kirby, who was my partner (and asked to be included in the blog by name). We killed it on the practice exam together, so hopefully, we do well on the real thing! After we finished reviewing that, we had time until lunch, which was at 12, to work on any projects, essays, or homework we needed to finish.

Oh yeah, shoutout to our amazing chefs for the day, Head chef Miles and sous chefs Tori and Fargo, for cooking three banger meals today. After lunch, we all gathered in the salon for a presentation on the Panama Canal given to us by Morana, who was very knowledgeable on the subject. We learned the history and various statistics about the canal, including when it was built, how much water each lock holds, how much water is wasted every time one cycle is completed, how much it cost to operate daily, etc. Some of the numbers will astound you, so I would recommend looking into it. For any readers of the blog who want to watch Vela go through the canal, we also learned that there is a live broadcast that all of you can tune into if you would like. I think that is pretty damn awesome. After the canal presentation, we had a whole boat chat where we had an open space to discuss any pet peeves or gripes we had with anyone or anything that was happening on the boat. It was very constructive and healthy, and I think chats like that are important to keeping everyone happy, so I hope we are able to continue doing things like that. After that, we had even more time to do work until dinner, which we had a little after 6. Not exactly sure who did it, but a few wonderful people baked us a Panama Canal celebration chocolate cake that people are currently eating as I am writing this. My squeeze question for today was, “If you could be the best in the world at one thing, what would it be?”. We had some interesting and hilarious answers to that one, ranging from “Being the best at making children” (lol, continued to say ) to “being really good at being disguised as a really muscular horse” (You had to be there to get that one). Anyway, that pretty much sums up the day. I’m gonna go get some cake.

EDITORS NOTE: If you would like to watch our transit through the canal, you can watch it on a webcam at the following link! We will be going through the first three locks from approximately 6 – 9 pm Eastern Daylight Time on March 13th, starting at the Gatun Locks.