Location: Sanur Beach, Bali
It’s been quiet. Too quiet. The past few weeks, as the staff have been preparing Vela for this next voyage, something hasn’t been quite right. But today is the day that all changes!! Our new students arrived in various fashions – with an enthusiastic “Sup Bros!” from Jackson, a veteran knowledge of bow line dangers from Margaret, a near-constant giggle from Lucia, brother updates from Siena (miss you farg!), and the world’s cutest PADI cert card photo from Wes (he was eight years old) all eager to explore their new home and enthusiastic about the adventure that is about to unfold before them.
Students continued to arrive for much of the afternoon, with the arrival of Finn, Zoe, Allie, Margaret, and Ruby at dinner, making us a complete crew! They Tetris’ed their belongings into their new living spaces, decided whether they fell into the “Kook Slammahs” or “Total Shredders” category for our surf excursion, and got to know a group of 25 strangers that would soon be family.
As a past student myself, I remember looking back at the initial days onboard and thinking, look how far we’ve come. Look how seemingly randomly the cards were stacked before they unfolded in the way they did. Before Vela became my favorite home, a strange cast of characters became my closest friends in the world before we each grew and changed in confidence, curiosity, and capabilities.
Right now, talking on the chart house roof, in the salon, or at the bow – students wonder what will be the greatest part of this adventure. “Swimming with Whale Sharks!” Surely that. “Crossing the Indian” Or that. “Mantas in Coco’s Keeling” That. “Safaris in South Africa” That too. “Crazy dives!” “Sunsets!” “Skies scattered with stars!” That, that, and that as well.
But I’ll let you in on a secret. It won’t be any of those “that’s” sure, they will all be stories to perk up the ears of grandkids one day or gather a crowd at a high school reunion. They will be beautiful moments that you won’t forget if you try. But they won’t be what makes this trip what it is. It’ll be the time spent dancing (in the rain or otherwise) because it would be rude not to join the earth in spinning. It’ll be the strange accents (ask about Coco’s Keeling) and inside jokes. It’ll be going to a fully stocked grocery store and standing under the fluorescent lights (trust me). Nights spent sharing stories and secrets, letting the ocean eavesdrop. Searching for green flash sunsets and debating if they’re real (they are). Watching the saying “two weeks on a boat is two years on land” come to life as we reach a level of closeness currently only reserved for our favorite friends. Swimming in water that extends for miles beneath us. The unflinching, unchanging horizon. The moment it changes. Dishy vs. Deckie wars. Bartering snacks. Mastering the art of the morning wake-up. A million moments that we can’t begin to explain to those back at home (but we promise we’ll try!)
Ultimately, it’s the people. It’s always the people. And, I’d say we’ve got quite the group. So let’s get started!
Meet The Staff!
Tom – Skipper, Medical Person in Charge, PSCT Instructor, Amateur Professional Drone Pilot, Leaves Fans ON, Equestrian, Club Sushi Trivia Champion, Flexitarian, Moonlights as a McDonald’s Mascot
Smash – Chief Mate, Program Manager, Leadership Instructor, Dive Instructor, Fan of Potato Dogs (Except The One Mean One), Most Pettable Head, Club Sushi Trivia Champion, Trashmaster Enthusiast, Recent Singapore Vacationer
Allie – Mate, Medical Person in Charge Who Is Not In Charge, Bloginator, Maker of Too Soon Drone Jokes, 2 Time Padel (puh-dell) Beginners Clinic Champion, Banned from Bali Scooter Rental, Club Sushi Trivia Champion, Pen Pal of Kris Stevenson, Undefeated Best Blog Writer According To My Mum’s WhatsApp Messages.
Steph – Marine Biology Instructor, Dive Instructor, Fluent in Indonesian if the Communication is Exclusively Giggles, Most Likely Delirious Post-Grocery Shopping, Club Sushi Trivia Champion, Crispy Tofu Enthusiast, Fan of Bagged Condiments, Can Be Heard Through Two (2) Watertight Doors
David – Oceanography Instructor, Newly Licensed Dinghy Driver from The Jake Valpey Dinghy School (NOT the toilet store), Allergic to Tree Nuts, Bubonic Plague Survivor, Mental Math Fanatic (Does Not Own A Calculator Watch)
Jake – Mate, Dive Instructor, NOT a Drone Recovery Diver, 2 Time Padel (puh-dell) Beginners Clinic Champion, Haver of Too Much Energy According to the Sanur Padel Club, Rupiah Haggler Extraordinaire, Heckler of Strangers, Tom’ss Apprentice, Fan Guy Fan
P.S. Happy Belated Birthday to Steph’s Mom and Happy Belated Belated Birthday to My Dad, Love Ya Duden!
P.P.S. Students have turned in their phones for the beginning of the program. They are not ignoring your texts, and they love you all dearly.