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Location: Atlantic Ocean

I awoke in a daze at 3:30 this morning to the red light of Charlton’s headlamp, the feeble rattle of my fan, and the muffled rumble of the engine droning away. Our watch team was initially greeted with cold rain; thankfully, the squall was just passing through, leaving us behind at a pace we could only dream of. The wind has died out considerably, barely mustering six knots of apparent wind speed, most of which is hitting our faces. Both Jibs have been dropped and flaked, the Forward and Main Staysails center-lined and left up merely for their stabilization. We’re a glorified motorboat at the moment, but that’s better than going nowhere. Coming down from the watch, our team was greeted by Nate holding a broken faucet handle from one of the heads; it snapped off during a hasty pre-watch head shower. Jake was luckily able to fix it.

Today was blistering, with little wind, no cloud coverage and temps upwards of 95 degrees. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that we’re headed toward the equator. We had cheesy pasta for breakfast, five kilos worth of cheese, to be precise. We cleaned up and braced ourselves for our second Oceanography quiz. A brief intermission followed to exchange our sweat-soaked, dirt, and skin-flake-covered sheets for beautiful, clean, musk-less replacements. Seamanship was next on the docket; the class split into guys and girls; girls went first, having won the morning rock paper scissor showdown. We learned the basics of taking a running fix, which was almost as difficult as holding together our tattered, graphite-stained, disintegrating practice charts while fighting for table (or floor) space.

Dinner was great, a simple rice and curry with minimal dishes for the dish pit to deal with. For my squeeze question, I asked everyone to share a random object, sound, or scent that reminded them of their childhood. Nostalgic answers included the smell of the air at a certain time of day during the summer, the sounds of Mario-kart, buttercups, and the smell of a Nintendo. There was also a big theme of specific artists or songs that accompanied happy memories.

It’s been a stressful few days since departing Saint Helena. We had our first Marine Bio unit test yesterday, our Oceanography quiz today, a marine bio ID quiz tomorrow, and our second ID logbook deadline shortly after. We’re exhausted and sweaty, a little on edge but well aware that this wouldn’t be a walk in the park. My free moments are spent laughing, reading, venting, writing, and reminding myself that the best of this trip (scuba) is still ahead of us. Swimming with a whale shark will be hard to beat, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned so far, it’s that our expectations rarely predict what’s yet to come.

Signing out for now,
Skipper Cooley