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Location: Underway to Richards Bay

One of watch team 1’s favorite activities on the 4-8 am watch is guessing when the “forb” will appear (when the sun in its entirety will show). Today, the sun rose early, but the forb was hidden for hours behind an overcast sky. We handed our guesses over to the next watch team at 8 am, and watch team 1 was fast asleep when the forb finally decided to show its bright face. Having such an early sunrise and an overcast sky was new to us, so our guesses were way off, but it was refreshing after days and days of glaring sun. On passage, we are in our own 112-foot world; for days at a time, there is a permanent radius of nothingness around us. By nothingness, I just mean no civilization because we are, in fact, surrounded by everything. As we learned in marine biology and oceanography, although all we see is blue water, there are 1000s of feet of marine life below us and maybe even a giant humpback whale just beneath that wave on our port side; we just can’t see it. Another plus to having our own little world is having the ability to change the time whenever we feel like it so that perfect dusk time falls when we all join back together at the end of a long day for dinner and squeeze. We just shifted an hour back, so that was the reason why the sun rose so early, and our forb guesses were all so off.
Now you may be wondering, with all this talk of the forb, why this blog entry isn’t titled “forb.” This is because a different Vela vocabulary term took the gold for today: the low side. Today, the sea state picked up, and instead of the normal rocking from side to side, we hit the waves head-on and were rocking back to front. Some of our bodies didn’t enjoy this new sensation and were subject to the low side for the majority of the day. The low side is the side of the boat in which the wind is not hitting it, so if something were to go overboard, for example, bodily fluids, they wouldn’t blow back onto the boat or, even worse, onto us. Most of the people who were seasick today somewhat managed until the afternoon. I made the grave mistake of enjoying one of the immaculate quesadillas that Siena cheffed up, which was incredible in that moment of consumption, but a few hours later as I watched the remains float away on the surface of the Indian Ocean, not so much. The key to being seasick is to stay on deck. When you go below deck, it can be a dangerous game, as some of us learned during oceanography today. We all had to do a 5-minute presentation on the topics we chose for our literature reviews. Doesn’t sound so bad, right? Wrong. I decided that the best move was to do mine first and then retreat back to the low side up on deck. I was right; this was the best move. After battling through my presentation with my PFD still on, which is required on deck while underway, I made a quick escape and made it just in time for that quesadilla to come up. I was quickly followed by Ruby, then Lucia, Jackson, Margaret, and lastly, Ayden, who wasn’t so lucky and made the rookie mistake of leaving his PFD in his cabin, which meant he had to venture in and out of the watertight door to retrieve his PFD and then go up the companionway to the deck. From what I heard, that watertight door just a few feet from the companionway took a hit… a direct hit… from Ayden’s mouth. You were so close, Ayden. Better luck next time.
But as unenjoyable as this all sounds, there is something unusually serene about being on the low side surrounded by your friends who share that same pit in their stomach feeling. Laughing as we lean over the side in a line watching our lunches come up as Vienna by Billy Joel is playing from someone’s speaker. Hearing distant laughter from the cockpit reminds us that this feeling will surpass. Laying flat on our backs to see the moving sails and passing clouds out of the tiny holes in our hats, which are draped over our faces protecting them from the sun. But the sun feels good when it touches our skin, warming us up from the cool breeze, the same breeze pushing us across the Indian Ocean.