Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Aaaah, the dreaded last full day on board Vela after spending the last 90 days sleeping 2 feet from your friends, bracing yourself on the walls of the head to shower so you don’t go head first out the door and learning how to make canned veg somehow taste delish. But alas, this day is dreaded because it means the last full day being within arms reach of some of your new best friends, your last dishie pit (which you know has become a fav of yours, don’t lie, Griffin) and last count off altogether as one crew for the squeeze. I may or may not have started the day waking all the eggs up by reminding them it was their last full day on board because this is somehow my 8th ‘last full day,’ and although a semi-sad one, it’s also a super fun and reminiscent one. To this news, I was greeted with either sleepy/mildly grumpy faces or still eyes shut waves followed with “Oh no’s,” and out of bed they came. Our last meal on board was omelets made by Ava and her chef team. They even took personal orders for what you wanted in your omelet. No lie, this is the first and only time I have seen actual omelets come out of a Seamester galley, and damn good ones at that. Coming from a person who really doesn’t like eggs and ate her whole omelet, and that’s saying something.
After breakfast, we broke out into our last full-day ritual, all day BA and paaaacking! This crew is quite speedy, and they got to it right away. The top bunks started first in their cabins, shoving waaay more stuff into their duffel bags today than what they took out of them 90 days prior. Up on deck, we took offlines and cleaned all the delicious Richards Bay soot off of them. We took the jib off, cleaned the PFDs and the dive gear, and gave the laz a good thorough wipe down and neat re-pack. We gave the topsides a super-needed rust stain removal and clean, thank you, Richards Bay, and did a full deck wash from bow to stern.
Meanwhile, down below, the bags started piling up on the saloon tables, which always makes it start to feel real that it’s over. Somewhere in the middle, we broke for lunch, and all headed over to the market on the shore near the boat and had lunch together, ranging from ramen to sushi and burgers and ice cream. The day kept moving, and we got to our final task of the day – floor scrub! This one is always a favorite. We started, as we do, in sweep mode and swept every inch of all the floors from the focsle to the chart house. Then we mixed up our scrubbing potion, grabbed some towels, chucked on Landslide, and got scrubbing until every inch was scrubbed, and Vela smelled delightfully of lavender.
After a quick group trip to the shore showers, it was time for a final squeeze in the cockpit. One of my favorite things to ask on the last day of the program, aside from our usual appreciation of the day, is everyone’s appreciation of the trip, as well as something you would tell yourself 90 days ago. Our trip appreciations ranged from swimming with whale sharks and that one dishie pit with Griffin and Timber to crossing the flipping Indian Ocean and all of the late-night sleep-deprived watches we had on the way. Answers for what you would tell yourself at the start of the trip included relaxing, soaking it all in, enjoying the little moments, and (a group fav) Tom is really, really cool, but don’t be fooled; Smash is the coolest. We finished squeeze with a squeeze and a count-off but started at the end at 25 instead of 0 like normal. Then off we headed to our final night out dinner, where we toasted an amazing trip and enjoyed some super tasty (read *spicy*) curry. We all walked home together, and the students settled into their bunks one last time. Somehow, these trips still feel like they fly by to me, but they say time flies when you’re having fun (thanks, Dad). Couldn’t be more grateful to have spent the last 90 days with this squad doing and seeing all of the amazing things we were lucky enough to witness. To FOM23, I’ll see you all somewhere else in the world someday. To all the rest, see you in the Spring (: