Dawn found Vela making her way South across the Seychelles bank, a shallow area that surrounds the main islands, heading back to open waters. Students had been sent to bed the night before to get some rest from the huge amount of preparation a 2,300 nm journey requires. With a skeleton crew, the land slowly dropped away as the landscape was revealed by the rising sun. When I spoke to the crew the night before, I talked about how far they had come, how much they had learned about how to live at sea and sail a 115 ft schooner. Day to day, I could see them getting more and more “salty,” maneuvers and sail raise speeding up, everybody moving slowly towards our ultimate goal where the crew takes over Vela and calls it their own. This change was most evident that morning, with lines perfectly coiled, decks swept clean, Vela holding her breath for sea.
As shipmates awoke and came on deck, the routine of life at sea took over. We couldn’t have asked for a better first day with light southerlies and a lazy swell. We pushed our way southwards and held our first classes back underway. There is something about crossing an ocean that is perfectly uncomplicated. So much of our lives, we live worrying about what is to come or what has just happened, but on the ocean, all that matters is the now. Where is the wind, where are the waves, where is my breakfast and coffee? Seychelles has been an amazing experience for all of us, but for the moment, I’m content to be on the ocean again.
1. A snap hot from underway below deck
2. Cotton candy sunsets