Location: Gibraltar

Hello, faithful blog-readers,

Today was the last day on board for the 50-day students. Unfortunately, Chanksy, Haley, and Dima would be leaving Vela to return home at the end of their 50-day voyage. It never gets any easier saying goodbye to shipmates. After 50 days on board, crossing oceans, spending nights on deck, and living with someone, you become incredibly close. We were all feeling a bit flat watching our shipmates walk down the dock with their bags to catch a flight home. The count-off was a sad reminder as we had to fill in their numbers for them.

After saying goodbye to our friends and making plans to see them again soon, we dedicated ourselves to preparing Vela to go back to sea. We had what now seemed a short passage before us after the Atlantic, only 600 nm to Barcelona. Unfortunately for us, the forecast had the wind pitted against us for the bulk of that time. After making all ship-shape on deck, we left the marina and proceeded to the fuel dock next to the airport. It was strange to navigate Vela only a few hundred meters from a Boeing 747 taking off. Re-fueled once more, we dropped our lines for good this time and headed into the open sea. The shipping was again crowded outside Gibraltar, and we threaded our way through the traffic and around the Rock. It was a pretty glassy evening as we watched Gibraltar drop behind us. With staysails set and the engine on, we fell back into our watch routine and prepared for another night amongst the stars.