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Goodbyes are always difficult. Leaving home 22 days ago, saying goodbye to Jon, and today watching Captain Marc head on to the next chapter of his life.

We woke up at eight this morning in a familiar place: North Male Atoll. We’ve come and gone from this anchorage a few times now, and waking up to the view of the city has become a comforting background for day to day activities. After a quick cereal breakfast provided by galley team Danar, Mads, and Elle, we went below decks for a marine biology class on tagging and releasing. We experimented with rice and beans to simulate tagged species, using an equation from one sample to guess the total in the whole. I imagine it works in the wild, but in my group, where Lucia couldn’t stop eating the raw grains of rice, we were a fair bit off.

Then it was time for our fearless Captain Marc to depart. We raised signal flags up the foremast staysail halyard to spell out “LOVE U MARC” under two large spheres, a signal to say our ship was not under command. After rounds and rounds of hugs between captain and crew, Marc got on the water taxi and headed to the airport.

I think I can speak for everyone aboard Vela when I say he will be missed. In any other environment, twenty-two days may not seem long enough to form connections as strong as we feel here. On Seamester, though, relationships are on hyperdrive. He leaves large shoes for newly appointed Captain Tom, but we’re certain Tom can handle it.

After a sad goodbye and a tasty lunch, we went back below for oceanography with Leoni (and some invaluable hours of air conditioning). Mo and I led leadership class while Elle baked everyones favorite flapjacks.

The afternoon was spent hanging out, working on homework, and throwing some backflips off the bow during showers. Trey, Robbie, and Dylan definitely win the prize for their triple flip together as Mo, Danar, and Valentina swam laps around Vela. As soon as we could dry, we sat down for dinner and squeeze. We shared our favorite sentimental items, discussed games, and once again appreciated our former Captain. Now, we’re cleaning up from the day as we prep for a marine biology quiz and our first night under the direction of Captain Tom.

Wishing safe travels and fair wishes to Marc from a vessel that misses him dearly,

– Sam W

Photo;

1 Saying goodbye to captain Marc

2. Madz, Lucia and Danar on the bow sprit

3. Cooking up some nanes for lunch

4. Madz and Lucia

5. Cheeky backies

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