Location: Sardinia, Italy

My morning started off early. Anna and I were up on deck at 4:30 am for the last rotation of anchor watch for our overnight stay off of Sardinia, Italy. It was the first time we were able to have a watch together this summer, which was exciting. We watched the sunrise, and early-bird fishermen pull past before we went to wake Freddie to start prepping for our short motor to the dive site. Calum taught my sister and me how to run the hydraulic anchor hoist, and as she worked the chain back into its home, I was able to work the machinery that brought it up to her. This week I have been ensuring that I am comfortable doing Calum’s job and taking on all of his First Mate’s responsibilities in preparation for the student-led passage to Rome, during which I will be serving as First Mate in his stead, and the anchor is one of those responsibilities I have been trying to master! After our 5:45 am lesson on deck, we finished prepping Vela with the staff before running down to catch a nap before breakfast. Anna sat the Navigation Master exam this morning as part of the 3rd group to do so, which occupied a lot of students for the morning hours. Those who weren’t testing were split into dive groups once we arrived at our new anchorage, my dive group will be going tomorrow, but those who were able to get below the surface today brought me stories of sea stars and eels seagrass, and wonderfully tiny Italian fish. Since I wasn’t diving, I spent my afternoon milling about onboard, cleaning my bunk, starting to pack for home, and swimming around the boat with Paige. It was such a beautiful and lazy day in the sun, bittersweet as it will likely have been my last real quiet time to spend with Vela before we are busily off to Rome and then back to real life. As our hours and days are winding down, emotions are running high as the reality of our timeline sets in – I look forward to getting back to my work and school schedules and seeing my loved ones, but part of me wishes we could all just sail around and around forever. The big challenge of the student-led passage is all that stands between us and our final destination, and it’s looming over us tonight. I’m excited to try my hand at leading the crew and working with the other wonderful lads and ladies elected to run the vessel, who are as follows:
Jack – Captain/Skipper
Me – First Mate
Paige – Watch Team 1 Leader
Ceci – Watch Team 2 Leader
Anna – Watch Team 3 Leader
Josh – Chief Engineer
Keally – Navigator
Ines – Navigator
Sav – Navigator

Reflecting on the above list, I’m really quite proud to be on it as the competition was tough, and these are incredible students that I’ll be working with. I’m also very proud of the stand-out women on the list who have paved the way as powerful role models and leaders on a boat that is 2/3 filled with guys! Wish us all luck as we do our best to make it safely and efficiently to Rome.

Pics: Me and Vela, in that order