Location: Sardinia---->Civitavecchia

Wowzers bowsers! It is absolute madness that it is already day 66! We had such a lovely day today with starting our final passage to Civitavecchia- woohoo (but also sad face)!!! The day started with some Xavier Rudd at 7 am and some lovely yogurt and granola at 7:30 am. After clean-up, everyone jumped right into passage prep with the goal of raising the anchor by 10 am. It was truly incredible to watch this student crew prepare Vela for her passage with very minimal assistance from the staff. This group has come so far in just two months, from not knowing their port from their starboard back in the BVIs, to now being in control of Vela and getting us safely to mainland Italy. Our student leaders of Abi, Mal, Sage and Tia, and Annie have planned our passage amazingly well, and we are all excited to get underway. Gigi did a great job leading passage prep, and right on schedule, we were raising anchor by 10 am. Just around that time, we were hit by what has now become a classic Sardinia squall-with winds of about 35kts. A perfect time to head out (can’t drag the anchor if it’s already up!). Over the next hour or so, we motored out of the bay, and people took this time to get some last-minute studying in for their oceanography final later this afternoon. Unfortunately, or hilariously fortunate? The wind remained strong for the student-led sail raise. Every single person rose to the occasion of a tricky sail raise and worked together in a way that made all the staff smile and feels proud. With Abi at the helm and Mal leading the deck, our dynamic duo successfully raised and reefed the mainsail and jib (yay, no engine!!).
Afterward, it was time for an absolute scrumptious lunch of veggie chow mein made by our incredible head chef Heather. With this being our final lunch underway, I think it was only fitting to have some stronger winds that made eating noodles a sport- thank you, Nat, Annie, and Kayla, for deckie-ing up all the flying noodles. Once clean up with finished (shout out to Heather for being super kind to the dishy pit-love a one-pot wonder), it was time for the oceanography final!! Our students have been working so hard at this course over the past couple of weeks and have really become oceanography wizards! While some stomaches flipped from the waves, everyone at least felt good about the exam.
For the rest of the afternoon, some worked on their research project or lay on the deck and conquered seasickness for the final time. We all came back together for dinner- thanks, Heather and the chefs (Sarah and Tia)! Luckily, everyone was feeling perky and got to try the chefs’ amazing curry. My squeeze question was, “What is the person to your rights ordinary power that makes them super?” After being on this boat together for over two months, we have seen everyone at their highs and their lows. We have found the most valuable parts of each other, and I thought it would be nice to share. Some lovely superpowers we have on board include; Tia’s infectious laugh, Daniel’s unmatched kindness, Mal’s resilience, Sarah’s helpfulness, and Sage’s ability to soak up all the wonders that this world has to offer. Tears were shed (and some snot (don’t look too closely at the group photo)), and hugs were given.
As I write this blog, our wind has died off, and our engine has been turned back on, and our main sail has been dropped for the final time (with perfect flakes, of course). I think I can speak for all the staff when I tell you that this group has been exceptional- in their drive to learn, passion for the world, and overall willingness to try new things and push beyond their comfort zones. We are so proud to take a step back and let them show off their new skills, confidence, and knowledge with this final passage and final days. Thanks to everyone back home for supporting your loved one in coming out here on this crazy once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
All my best and good vibes 🙂