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Location: Richards Bay, South Africa

I feel like last night was the most sleep I’ve had in ages. It was.

That’s right folks, a full night of sleep last night. We’ve made it. We deserved it.

After our first non-oatmeal breakfast in two weeks, a monkey ran over to our dockside to say hi. We had been warned about pirates and stowaways trying to enter the boat during the nighttime, and our biggest fears were about to come to fruition. Martin, who must’ve had a bad experience with a monkey before, told us to get the food down below as quickly as possible before the primate intruder could board the vessel and wreak havoc. Luckily, he realized there was no cereal left over for him, and promptly left the dock in search for other means of breakfast.

After the short standoff with Curious George,it was time for Marine Bio class.

But, all good things must come to an end. The COVID-19 tests were ready, and with it came a small reminder of the world outside Vela.

After completing all of the necessary forms and questionnaires, we lined up one by one to be swabbed. Our first step on land was to go get tested for COVID…

After the slow start to the morning, a long overdue Boat Appreciation began making headway. Ten shipmates started off up on deck removing all of the saltwater residue from our long and spray-filled passage, while the rest started the ritual of bilge diving to drain and clean. What had only occurred a mere 24 hours before seemed like so long ago due to the fact that Vela was no longer throwing shipmates and items side-to-side in a wavy rage, and instead the violent motion of the rocky boat was replaced by the eerie silence of a still main engine and a good night’s sleep. The occasional tugboat would putter by with a grumbling roar, and when the wake hit our beam Vela rocked eagerly side by side, almost as if she wanted to break free from the dock and head back out to sea where she belonged.

The cleaning continued all into the afternoon. Everything everywhere was gutted, washed with soap and bleach, and put back together in a tidier fashion. Once Vela had been appreciated as much as she could within the given timeframe, a well-earned dinner was served, and the hands linked together for squeeze. I went for a much tougher question this round since it is my last time as skipper for the semester:

‘What is a song lyric that really resonates with you?’

A plethora of different stanzas were sung, each one having a different and deeply personal meaning to the respective owner of the verse.

Then, after the whimsy and depth of squeeze came to an end, the mock Nav Master exams started. While this test is in groups and is merely practice, the real deal is solo.

We’re ready for it. We know which way to go about things here.

I hope all is well at home. We miss you all.

Love, Dylan H.

Photos:

1. Bee holds up her rust-busting tools

2. Lucia cleans everyone’s shoes after our small land excursion to get tested

3. Max uses his toothbrush to clean off some rust. 9/10 dentists recommend Oral-B to clean rust off your boat.

4. Can you find Trey?