Location: Male harbor, Male, Maldives

The staff on Vela are so excited to welcome our 24 student crew aboard today. We have spent the last few weeks preparing the final elements to set off on our big adventure together. The food stores are stacked, fruit hammocks full, bunks made and the boat polished into a shining beauty.

It was a great feeling to see a boat full of smiling, excited faces draw up to the side of Vela and as everyone climbed aboard, we were so happy to welcome everyone who will become like family over the next 90 days. The first day was full of trying to remember everyone’s names (Emily suggested using additional words to help and became Emily elephant, and none of us forgot her name after!), learning all the different boat names for things (the bathroom is called the head and kitchen the galley) and getting settled in to our new home.

Before dinner, everyone successfully finished their swim test (two laps around Vela followed by a 10 minute float) in the tropical Maldivian waters whilst enjoying a chance to cool off. Finley and Cait had a blast while splashing everyone during swim time showing off some excellent jumping in skills. Valintena and Carly helped cook up a delicious tomato pasta dish for dinner that disappeared very quickly. Whilst on board, every crewmember has a number that is theirs for the duration of the trip to allow us to count off and make sure that we have everyone together. Mo, our first student skipper, quickly learnt how much of a challenge it can be getting everyone together – 112 ft may not sound like a large space to get lost in but trust us when we say that sometimes getting everyone together is like herding cats!!

To close off the evening we continued a Sea|mester tradition of the ‘squeeze’. It was great to see a common goal emerge – everyone was grateful to be on program and super excited for all the amazing memories that will be made over the next 90 days. Gillian and Angie can’t wait to get the anchor up and see Vela glide through the water, whilst Robbie and Trey, having already dived before, are looking forward to developing his new diver skills and facing any challenges that may come his way. Lucia is planning to grab every opportunity during the trip while Dylan has said he has already made loads of good friends.

After each meal, out routine is to break into clean up. Sierra was part of the gopher clean, the go-for getting everything that is needed to allow us to eat up on deck. Ian and Max was deckies, responsible for scrubbing the deck after each meal whilst Seth and Noah were in charge in drying all the dishes that came through the saltie pit. Myra was our resident is there anything I can do to help person as fabuloso whilst Angie and Henry leant how we keep the heads and salon clean.

Sam and Bee are the first students to take over the student anchor watch team and set the excellent standard of seamanship to come. Zack took the opportunity to sleep under the stars tonight in his hammock on deck.

We are so grateful that we are able to run this program and have so many enthusiastic students on board. The atmosphere on board right now has such a great energy, despite everyone being so exhausted, and we all cannot wait to see what this semester holds for us!

Pictures

1. S/Y Vela looking beautiful

2. Staff team Leoni, Elle, Amy, Marc, Shona, Tom (left to right)

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