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Location: 24 55.1' N 026 26.0' W

Have you ever taken a vacation to the seaside, enjoyed a long walk around a lake, strolled hand in hand with your children or loved ones along the beach, or even had a glass (or two) in a hot tub? Im sure the answer would be yes to at least one of those. What do all of these things have in common? Water! We seek bodies of water, maybe subconsciously, to relax and give ourselves much-needed breaks. Most people have loved water for as long as they can remember, from feeling the breeze on our faces and smelling the sea salt in the air to jumping in puddles with welly boots on!

Even if you dont live by the sea, water is an integral part of our daily lives. The oceans have allowed us to develop global transportation systems, food sources, industries, livelihoods and create wonderful memories. Yet, it is often all taken for granted. The sad truth is that if our beloved ocean is continually abused, often by the humans whose whole lives depend on it in ways they havent even fathomed, it will not be able to provide for us indefinitely.

Caring for the ocean as one of our most precious resources is something our dedicated Staff onboard Vela are always trying to teach our shipmates. Be that through our Oceanography and Marine Biology lectures or through the general day-to-day life, such as what to do with our food waste. We hope our shipmates leave here with a better insight into prolonging the life of our beautiful sea. I have asked some of my fellow staff members to share just one thing they would say to help save our oceans:

Dylan, Masters in Science and Marine Biology and our Marine Biology Lecturer: Simply avoid using plastic as much as you can and altogether if possible! Plastic will eventually find its way into the ocean. The largest percentage (approx 40%) of plastic in the sea is actually lost and cut-free fishing gear. The rest is plastics that you and I use in everyday life. The knock-on effect of plastic in the sea is causing unprecedented worldwide pollution and untold numbers of deaths to sea life and birds.

Leoni, Masters in Marine Affairs, PADI Scuba Instructor, and our Oceanography Lecturer: No matter how far away from the ocean we live, everything we do impacts the ocean. Everything from washing your car with chemicals to buying foods wrapped in plastic has a huge impact on the oceans. The Ocean is our biggest carbon sink! It is the largest absorber of the CO2 that we pump into the atmosphere on the planet. Even more so than trees.
We urgently need to protect our forests, implement green belts in cities, use public transport and bicycles instead of cars in order to relieve some of the burdens from the ocean and the sea life which is suffering directly at our hands.

Garrett, PADI Scuba Diver Instructor and IYT Master of Yachts Lim 200t: We must pay attention to where our seafood is coming from. Generally speaking, if its locally caught, it is more likely to be small scale and sustainable in comparison to fish bought from the aisles of a megastore. If you cannot tell where the food came from, the chances are it came from an unsustainable, high impact, mass catching source whose fishing techniques cause exponential damage to sea life such as fish and coral reefs, but also to people whose livelihood comes from sustainable fishing. Simply put, there will be no fish left to catch within our lifetimes if we do not stop the damage were causing now.

Elle, Master Scuba Diver Trainer, and RYA YM Offshore Skipper: As someone who spends most of my life in or on the sea, whenever I see a piece of plastic on the beach, on the sea bed, or floating past, I pick up it up. If you see plastic, pick it up, take it home and dispose of it in the correct facility to try to help prevent this plastic from becoming a sea pollutant. Small changes done by a lot of people do make an impact.

A few small changes by many can have a huge positive impact on our wonderful sea.
There are so many very small and easy things everyone can do: Say no to straw at the bar, buy a reusable coffee mug to take to the coffee shop, use your own material bags at the store, choose local, sustainably caught fish.

This is not a problem for future generations. This is all of our problems right now, and we can all help.

Sending all of our love home. Missing you always Mum, Dad, and Chloe <3

P.S: If you’re wondering why our shipmates are now ‘working out’ on watch, I challenged everyone to complete one repetition (of a sit-up/press up / squat, etc.) per mile we sail to the Caribbean. It’s approx 2500 – 3000 miles, so we’ve got a lot of reps to do!!!

Photo 1: Sunset gazing
Photo 2: Me taking the helm while my bodyguards Charlie, Declan, and Charlie keep watch!
Photo 3: Leoni, Joe, and Jack making pizza in the galley
Photo 4: My wonderful watch team #1 Declan, Clara, Liz, Celia, Charlie, and Tyler
Photo 5: Watch Team #1 getting their reps in!! Declan, Arden, Liz, and Clara

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