Location: English Harbor, Antigua

Well… here it is… my final blog,

Words can’t even describe the many mixed feelings on the boat right now. Each and every one of us is trying to make the most of our last moments together and stay positive but, at the same time, trying so hard not to cry. Today started with almost everyone up and out of bed before waking up, trying to make the most of our last few moments on anchor where we could still jump in. The rescue divers had yet another rescue drill where they did an immaculate job and didn’t lose anyone in the process this time (except Joel may have lost another weight belt… again). Vela’s got herself some newly certified rescue divers!
We had our last passage today, which was approximately 2 miles in total. Quite the feat if you ask me. We docked Vela for the last time, where she will be chillin for the next few months. We divided into dive groups and got to go on a student-led dive to the Pillars of Hercules! The rest of us on the boat began the first of our 2 Boat Appreciations, today being the messy BA, and boy, was it messy. Some were on sails and deck lockers, while others were in the bilges.
The last of the divers went around sunset (my group), and it was “SPECTACULAR” -(Sophie). We saw octopus, barracuda, trumpetfish, and so much more, all glowing in the light of the setting sun.
We had a special guest join us for dinner tonight, which was none other than Kris Stevenson!! Maya made some “diabetes on a plate,” which consisted of pancakes with Nutella, cookie butter, ba-gnar-gnars, and syrupupup. Deee-licious. Dinner was followed with a special secret Santa, which had been set up by Big Rach and Lil Emy. The gifts were so creative and thoughtful and were well received by everyone. We had homemade gifts, store-bought gifts, paintings + other crafts, and discoveries from the ocean. We celebrated Big Rach’s big 22nd birthday with some more sugar, MandM snickerdoodle cookies made by Anna, Wilks, and Maya. Happy Birthday, Rachel, we love you so much!!! Squeeze ended a little differently than usual. We had the question, “where is the first place you’d show any of us who visited you” followed by an ending squeeze and an intense game of hide and seek where we only had 60 seconds to hide from Kris before he went looking for us. People hid on the bowsprit, in the freshly cleaned bilges, behind the foulies, in bunks, and in the anchor locker. I think Zoe, Cooper, Emy, and Ghost were the winners for not being found.
As the day winds down, everyone is hanging out in the salon, trying to spend as much time together as possible. This trip has been such an incredible experience for everyone, and we’ve made some of the most incredible memories together. The fact that this trip, one that many of us have spent such a long time looking forward to, is finally coming to an end is unreal. The seemingly endless 90 days are finally ending. We’ve been through so much together and bonded in ways we never could’ve imagined. It’s going to be so weird not being able to wander around the boat and find someone to talk to or wake up within 6 feet of 5 other people. Although we’re sad to leave, we’ve created so many good times, laughs, and cherished moments. This isn’t the end; it’s only the beginning. We’ve all found new adventure and travel buddies who share the same sense of adventure that we do. “Oh, the places we’ll go”
To everyone on Vela, thank you so much for making this trip so special. I’ve never laughed so hard in my life, been more challenged, and learned so much. To everyone who helped me get here, I am forever grateful.

Signing out one last time,
Joolia, Jahoolio, Don Julio, Jules

P.S. Sophie’s Dad, the shirts are so amazing. We all love them so much, and your kindness is so appreciated. (Sophie’s dad dropped off custom-made Vela shirts to the boat today!)

P.P.S. We had the most delightful swim last night, making the most of being able to jump off the boat (me, Sophie, Zoe, Emy, Rachel, Skylar, and Lindsay) 10/10 would recommend Antiguan night swims and creating your own bioluminescence