Ayelet, the command center of our lab, has collected all her saved vacation days (and borrowed some from the future) to take a 6 month vacation. To be honest, she warned me about that plan when we first met to discuss her position as a lab manager. Ayelet's plan was to take a boat and sail with the family in the Mediterranean from Israel to Italy and back, visiting Cypres, Turkey, Greece, and Croatia on the way. Back then it seemed far away and beyond care.
When Ayelet told me they bought a boat, I realized that the plan might actually be carried out. I even got a chance to sail with Ayelet and Udi one nice day out from Jaffa port (where they had a mooring point).
But since September the threat become more realistic. As the target date in April was closing in, Ayelet worked hard to make sure there are no loose ends left in the lab. She finished all the experiments she was performing, made sure our supply and daily operations are defined by a robust set of instructions. She left different lab members in charge of different aspects of the lab, and left strict instructions how to behave.
Surprisingly, we managed to avoid a major crisis so far. Things are working relatively smoothly, and we carry on the momentum Ayelet left us. This does not mean she will not have a lot of work when she comes back :-)
So what about the trip? Well, a week after passover, they set off. I was recruited on the last minute to drive some of the family and last of the supplies to the port. And so I got to send them off from the boat's berth. (They actually sailed some few kilometers north to Hertzelia where they could go through official border check to legally leave the country.) I also took the official goodbye picture.
Ayelet has been keeping a blog of the trip. It is worthwhile to take a look, as there are some amazing stories.
The observent readers might point out that Ayelet shows up in the pictures from Moran's sendoff party. This is not a mistake. The party was planed for the week Ayelet came back to Israel for a "mid-vacation" break to see her older kids and meet with her extended family.