Despite Captain Lee being “stubborn,” he knew it was time for him to go. He jokingly told his crew that when he got back, he was going to inform whoever “is on board to get the f—k off.” He then explained that though he was heading back to the U.S. to heal, he had every intention of returning to the boat before the season’s end. It’s a promise that Captain Lee said he kept good on.
“I can’t tell you how hard it is,” Captain Lee admitted. “It’s just like an emptiness that I’ve never known. I will put in the work; I will deal with the pain. I am going to come back and finish what I started.”
“It’s the right decision,” Lee explained during an emotional confessional. “I am no longer and asset, I am a liability now for the crew. I’m going to hold them back and that hurts, it cuts me right to the core.”
“I made a promise to the crew before I left that I would be back before they were done, before the season was over, and I would walk on board by myself unassisted,” Captain Lee told PEOPLE. “I’m happy to say that I was able to fulfill the promise.”
But the question on everybody’s mind was, “Who’s going to replace Captain Lee?”
The answer? Below Deck Mediterranean’s Captain Sandy Yawn, who was more than willing to offer her assistance after learning of her long-time friend’s situation. Captain Sandy praised Captain Lee for knowing when to pull back and prioritize himself ahead of his pride.
“Captain Lee and I go way back,” the Below Deck Med captain explained. “So, when I heard about Captain Lee’s situation, I felt terrible. Who wants to leave because you can’t physically do it?”
Sandy acknowledged that “it’s never easy” to take over for another captain, but her main priority was to ensure that “Captain Lee feels supported.”
Captain Lee says he does feel that support, and he commended Sandy for doing him “a solid” despite the “difficult situation” he says he put her in.
“You’re taking over somebody else’s boat and [somebody] else’s crew. That’s hard enough as it is — now add on top of it the fact that you’re also filming a TV show and you’ve got me over here saying, ‘By the way, I may or may not be back. It’s open-ended, but I’ll do my best!’ I recognize how hard that is.”
For all her support and willingness to step up to the plate when called upon, Captain Lee says he “owes her big time for that.”
“For her to step forward and take it on says a lot about her,” he concluded.
Below Deck season 10 is currently airing Monday nights at 8 p.m. EST on Bravo.
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