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Today was just like any other day aboard Vela, with our wake-up around 7:00 am breakfast starting at 7:30. We had pancakes, which were really fluffy, soft, and tasty, so credit goes to the chefs James, Savanna, and Brianne. After we finished breakfast and cleanup, those who remained took their Navmaster exams, while those who had already taken it was graciously granted either free time or a chance to go on a dive if they had missed out yesterday, and a second one if they hadn’t. Those who dove all seemed to enjoy it, some of us going before lunch, and the rest of us going after lunch, which was burrito bowls, another home run by our chefs. During our dives, we saw plenty of wildlife, mostly small fish in large schools and the occasional Morays, similar to eels. I, unfortunately, lost my watch while wrestling out of my BCD, and it has been claimed by the Mediterranean ( 🙁 ), but there were no other negatives. The water was so clear, and the rock formations were absolutely stunning, with large outcroppings and steep drop-offs. Josh referred to them as “underwater highways,” and I couldn’t think of a better way to describe them. Once we got back from our dive, Vela was already in “passage prep” mode, getting all the dive gear secured and stowed, getting our dinghies ratchet-strapped to the deck, and removing sail covers, among other things. Rocco, Anna, and myself, as some of the smaller folks aboard, were assigned to the Laz, stowing the dive gear and scuba tanks, performing checks on our steering column, and just tidying up all the loose items that are to be stored below the deck. With two of our shipmates leaving the trip early, we had to restore the duffel bags and suitcases in a somewhat organized fashion since they were packed like Nesting Dolls, and they also went into the Laz. Then we sat down for dinner, a Vela staple, Pasta and Tomato Sauce. But again, our chefs nailed it and made an original so uniquevegetables in the sauce, leftover beef from lunch, even sliced gouda cheese. So many things that I wouldn’t personally put in there, but after a long dive and an even longer day, it hit the spot.

We finished our passage prep and are hopefully going to be pulling anchor around 8:00 pm. From there, it’s around 19.5-20 hours worth of travel to Civitavecchia…and we’re leading it ourselves, with minimal staff involvement.

Photo 1: Rocco in the Laz, combatting the task of tying down the dive tanks
Photo 2: The crew eating our last stationary meal for the next 20 hours
Photo 3: The crew getting our final Staff-led briefing before we begin our Student-Led Voyage to Civitavecchia