Rose Gold.

 6:50 am Tuesday.

6:50 am Tuesday.

Myssie called it Rose Gold.

6:50 am, I am in my car, barely warmed up, moving slowly through 7 inches of fresh snow. I'm headed for my first pool swim since SwimVacation. I look up and notice it: a rosy-golden glow, not unlike the soft pastel pinks I woke to each morning on our yacht in the Abacos.

Exactly 72 hours earlier, I climbed out of my little nest hatch and jumped in to the Sea of Abaco for a sunrise swim with Simon, Hugh and Janine. My last swim of  two incredible weeks of SwimVacation in a new-to-us locale ended softly, smoothly, calmly. Quiet strokes across flat water under that rose gold sky. Reef characters waking, the big stingray from the day before. We lingered, not wanting to let it end.

 6:50 am Saturday.

6:50 am Saturday.

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Here are some things we've learned in our inaugural two weeks in the Abaco Island Chain:

  • The Abaco Islands and the shallow turquoise sea created by their geography is a great place to bring first time or anxious open water swimmers. The sandy sea floor is always close beneath us, a gentle reminder to look ahead and not fear the deep.
  • This chain of low slung cays provides us with so much swimming diversity - shallow and calm, and big water Atlantic. With its different shades of blues and greens and different open water feels, It's got something for everyone.
  • Travel to these islands is quick and pretty seamless. Also reasonably priced.
  • Going forward, we will definitely make this an April trip, rather than a December trip. Better to be there as the days get longer and the air and water temps climb, rather than fall...!
  • Treasure Cay has the softest pallet of colors I have ever seen. Perfect for swimmer portraits!
  • Fish Cays makes a great last swim. Its cast of reef creatures make a great preview of our Hawaii and BVI trips. It's also close enough to our port that we can spend our last night out off the dock, and even grab one more sunrise swim on departure day.
  • Dolphins. We love dolphins.

This place is special. We love special on SwimVacation. Not far from home, a shallow lagoon-like sea waits for us, and we will be back.

Special thanks again to our home town swimmer friend Randall. If you hadn't reached out to us, we never would have found this little paradise. Thanks also to our expert and enthusiastic crew. From the moment we called, in need of their help, Simeon, Zack and Chris never hesitated in their commitment to help us. They worked tirelessly for and with us. We couldn't have done it without you. Our Super-Guides Dave and Simon delivered, as they do every time we call, and made these weeks of swimming all they could be. We have new family in the Bahamas now! Our taxi ladies Abigail and Sophia, and boat expert Villy at Dream Yacht Charters, we can't wait to come back and see you again. Most especially, we are so deeply grateful to our 11 guests from the last two weeks. Jamie, Brett, Trudy, Paul, Art, Stephanie, Jenny (the dolphin whisperer), Janine, Hugh, Hugh and Myssie, we can't thank you enough for joining us on this adventure. We are so proud of your embrace of this experience with us. No matter how many times we come back to the Abaco Sea, we will always think of you and remember.

Like life, open water swimming has gifts even in the toughest challenges. Hurricane Irma broke our hearts when she ravaged our beloved British Virgin Islands last September. We are so excited to go home to those islands this spring. But it's also true that without that upheaval, we never would have landed in Abaco this year. From the chaos, we found a new home.

We hope you'll come swim the Abacos with us in April of 2019. We can't wait to return.

- Heather & Hopper

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