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The Students Become the Staff

Location: Civitavecchia, Italy

"Set your own course," we said. "Life activated," we said. "You are your experiences," we said. We say these things to motivate our students, to give them the push they need to show up to watch at 4 in the morning in the middle of a storm, to keep them focused to finish their homework and scuba dive and clean the boat all in the same day. We didn't realize that they were actually becoming confident and self-sufficient. We didn't realize we had trained them to replace us.

Several days ago, the students elected all of their own leaders: Santana as engineer, Lily and Alex as navigators, Celia as chief mate, Leo, Will, and Charles as watch team leaders, and Maya as captain. Yesterday, they pulled up the anchor and started driving Argo towards Rome. They have not asked us for help. They kept watch all through last night and raised the sails in the dark. I woke up to Argo sailing with full main, forward staysail, and jib, all while Celia was running the deck that had once been mine. Celia has been on my watch team all semester and has been observing me, learning everything she can so that she could one day usurp me. I was such a fool.

Once again, I am writing the blog on a day when we docked the boat. Today's dock is special. Due to the placement of the bollards on shore, we had to set up converging spring lines and a third midship line, as opposed to the usual crossed spring line pattern that we know and love. Please see the attached image featuring this very special bollard.

Claire and Phoebe saw a plastic bottle in the water this evening, so they took turns lowering each other by the ankles to try to retrieve it while I stayed on the boat and filmed it. Santana and Will eventually showed up, and together with Phoebe, the three of them dipped Claire into the harbor. The bottle was recovered.

They say that all roads lead to Rome, but even here, that isn't true. I've been saying "when in Rome" everywhere I've been on Seamester, and now it feels wrong to say it. Rome wasn't built in a day, but neither was anywhere else. That doesn't make Rome special.

Pictured: students running the boat, Claire dangling Phoebe, the best bollard