Yesterday we packed up all our gear - it’s amazing how it all spreads out with a mind of its own - loaded it into Albert’s van and made for town. It was our big provisioning day, with stops at the Rite Way, Cash & Carry, Tico Wine and Spirits, the hardware store, oh and the little french bakery. Yes, I said the little french bakery. Where we got little french baked thingies. That we ate. Before getting back into the van. Back to provisioning.
Provisioning days are gritty, sweaty work-y days, lots of searching and figuring, then lugging and hauling. Bags and big boxes of stuff into the van, out of the van, so many trips down the dock and onto our boat.
Our boat! Her name is Camano, like the island of Great Camano here in the BVI. Built in 2017, a beautiful Lagoon 52, she was so shiny and clean and pretty. And then we showed up with all of our junk. How fast we can mess this thing up!
Decanting begins. Cardboard is nothing but trouble that breeds cockroaches on a boat, so we get rid of ALL of it. Not only the boxes we use for hauling, but all of the boxes the food comes in. Cookies, crackers, cereal, all of it gets moved into ziplock bags and we pitch the boxes. The stack on the dock grows and grows. The galley and the cockpit look like a large family of hoarders lives on this boat. I stop and look around. The chaos. The entropy. It seems impossible that we could ever pull it all together.
Nagging at the back of my brain is of course, The Spliterator. After months of designing and building and planning, it’s time to set this thing up. My God, I hope it fits. Moving giant mattresses and 20 square feet of 5 inch thick upholstery foam around in a yacht cabin is kind of a big job for someone under 5 feet tall. 90 minutes later, t’was done. Just as we had envisioned it. Ladies and gentlemen, The Spliterator! Set up and ready for Susan and Patrisha. Phew.
Yes, these pre-trip days are gritty and sweaty and full of work. I love them. These are the days I remember I belong here, these are they days I feel most in touch with what we are about to do. These are the days that allow us to make a great week for the people who’ve trusted us with their vacation.
So yesterday was sweaty and dirty, and this morning was about last minute shopping and cleaning cleaning cleaning. Amazingly enough, we got it all together. We got this yacht back to beautiful, only fitted out with provisions and equipment and the stuff that will make for a great week of swimming.
The guests! Noon came and we got them aboard and into their cabins, back up for a quick briefing and let’s get off of this dock and out into the blue. Cubans for lunch as we crossed the channel to Peter Island’s Little Harbour, where we start almost all of our trips. We secured Camano with a stern line to shore, swum there by Dave in SwimVacation tradition.
I started our welcome talk with “Take a deep breath. You’re on SwimVacation”. Everyone smiled. Lots of details and questions and let’s quit talking and get in for a swim.
One of the best things about visiting a place often is that you can observe natural cycles and the ways in which a place and its inhabitants respond to circumstance. I’ve swum Little Harbour countless times. I didn’t know exactly what to expect underwater in the aftermath of Irma last fall. Lots of reef rubble in close to shore, and much of it was covered in sediments that most likely came from run off in the months after the storm. But look again. See who’s here. What I see are the grazers moving in. Flamingo Tongues! Sometimes we’ll see 5 or 6 in a week. I saw at least 12 on this swim. The damsel fish, the butterfly fish, lots of wrasses, out in force. These guys pick at rocks and coral heads, feeding on algae. They clean stuff up. The cleaners! The cleaners are here. Everyone doing their jobs as usual, and special forces have been called in to take care of business. I love to witness the ways Nature is always working to restore balance.
We were treated to a lovely and multi-phased sunset as our guests relaxed on the bow and fell into easy conversation. Miriam somehow turned some of the stuff that was in all of those boxes into an amazing fish dish topped with shrimp in a tomato based something or other I don’t know what it was but it was so good. After that we gabbed some more and sang happy birthday to our young Zack, 22 today, over a dish of absurdly good brownies.
We all agreed to open hatches and breezes over noisy generator and AC tonight. They’re all tucked in and asleep, I’m the last one awake.
Not for long.
My God it was good to splash in today. That clear blue water washing away the grit and the sweat and the work of the last few days, and the worry and concern of the last 7 months. The Islands are green. The sea is blue. The fish and flamingo tongues are doing their jobs, and we are home.