First sail of the rotation done! Left Panama on Christmas Eve day and started with light winds and following seas which was nice for easing back into life at sea. Later in things got a little more interesting but nothing too crazy and we were able to make it most of the way under sail.
We had a lot of gulls visiting the ship as we sailed along. They tried to make themselves at home and didn't seem much perturbed about our attempts to get them to leave. But eventually they did before drastic measures had to be taken.
Of course the students were back for this sail and I easily met my goal of learning all their names on the first leg of our journey. As there are only 14 it wasn't too difficult and I'm now working on where they're all from and next they suggest I learn their ages. They are a great group of kids and it will be nice to get to know them more over the next couple months.
After the summer it's so nice to have a longer staying and consistent crew in the banjer. It's such a refreshing change to have people on galley who know how to set up, run the dishwasher and understand the flow of meal times. And they are very appreciative to have a baker in board! If nothing else I've won them over with butter and sugar.
We celebrated Christmas and New Year's on this leg. For Christmas we had brunch and dinner all together in the banjer, the students had the day off of classes and lots of Christmassy things going on throughout the day. I had a bit of a sleep in day and enjoyed opening cards and presents I'd brought from home. That night was a full moon and happily it wasn't cloudy - a full moon at sea is pretty spectacular and was a great finishing touch on the day.
On New Year's Eve we set off some flares in lieu of fireworks; at 10:30 so that people could get to bed not too late if they wanted. At this time we also crossed the equator and brought Sørlandet to the south Pacific for the first time! What an exciting end to the year!
New Year's Day started with a brunch as did Christmas and then we had our equator crossing ceremony with King Neptune. I can't say more than that here but it was a unique experience. After we were done with that we had our first south Pacific swim call! Yipee!
Our timing got changed a bit and we arrived to Galapagos on January 4 as that's when customs opened after the New Year's holiday.
Overall a bit of an unroutine sail with the holidays thrown in there but a good first voyage and definitley warmer than I've experienced on board for a while.