Location: Atlantic Ocean

For the past few days of passage, the average true wind speed (TWS) has been consistently below 10 knots. We once saw 0.2 knots of wind on the monitor on the binnacle during watch. Things are going the very opposite of SOG (speed over ground, a technical term the Vela crew has adopted to describe how fast we’re going), and at this point, we’re even laughing about motoring all the way to the Med. Thankfully, every cloud has a silver lining, and today our captain Tom hailed the good news of an ocean swim. When was the last time any of us got to swim in the middle of the Atlantic?

The day began at 4 am (for Watch Team 3, at least). The splendid sunrise came early, and soon enough, it was time to rouse Watch Team 1 from their slumber. Jack and Ale on bow watch had the brilliant (yet cheeky) idea to lower a Yeti bottle on a string into the foxhole through a deck hatch to wake up Josh. Lunch was an attempt at mac’ n’ cheese (“what’s a roux?”)! After we’d been sitting in the blazing heat for about half an hour munching down our pasta, Tom let us know that after clean up, we would be allowed to swim in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Clean-up was the fastest it’s ever been on Vela, as we were all anticipating our first splash in the water since we left on passage. We rapidly put on our swimsuits, stopped the engine, removed the lifelines, lowered the swim ladder, and jumped off the bowsprit six people at a time. The ultramarine water flowed beneath us for miles on end, and an occasional sargassum bunch swimming up to our necks made us yelp. Dylan, however, loved looking at the little crabs and worms living in the seaweed that we kept in a bucket. We got onto the bow, jumped (or dived, or backflipped) in, swam back towards the ladder just to repeat it all again. Those on deck watched us shout and yell and slowly drift away with the current. When it was time to motor again, we rinsed off with fresh water on deck and got ready for our classes. Leoni (and Steve Jobs, but mostly Leoni) taught us a brilliant class about our personal values, and Brianne reviewed IYT course material for the seamanship exam (which we all passed!). Dinner was a redemption from lunch. Head Chef Rocco and First Mate Calum did their best to present us with a delicious chicken parm and bread rolls, and the crimson sunset was stunning. We also changed timezones, which led to Watch Team 1 finishing early, much to the disdain of Watch Team 2. Watch Team 3 will be chilling until midnight.

From Vela with love,

Picture 1: Sunrise at 4 am. Watch Anna for picture credits.
Picture 3: From left to right – Alexa, Wyatt, Ines, Kaleigh, Ben, Paige, and Amos (Leoni in the background).