If it's Tuesday, it must be Virgin Gorda, burgers and live music.

 Captain Bob slid us into Virgin Gorda just behind this storm. We didn't feel a drop.

Captain Bob slid us into Virgin Gorda just behind this storm. We didn't feel a drop.

On every sailing charter since the beginning of time, there’s one person who is not really on vacation. Who never really sleeps. It’s the captain. They worry about the mooring line. The water maker. A guest falling overboard in the middle of the night. Our non-vacationer this week is Captain Bob. We came to him through our mutual friend Kerry, along with chef Miriam. He’s been handling this 52-foot long, 35-foot wide catamaran with ease, finding smooth water for sailing and overnighting. SwimVacation is a fairly demanding charter, we move a lot from place to place, and we’re always on and off the yacht. We hit the out-of-the-way places tucked into the less travelled coves of the BVIs. Bob has taken it all in stride, and to boot, he and Miriam put on a fantastic show after dinner. Bob plays the ukulele and Miriam sings. Their styles couldn’t be more different, yet they come together nicely. Bob graciously let me play backup guitar behind them, my first gig ever after picking up a guitar about a year ago. 

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The Baths is a geologic wonder on the south end of Virgin Gorda. It’s a jumble of massive granite boulders on the shore, creating spaces you can hike or swim through. There’s been a trail through them for years, extending from one beautiful beach to another. Before the Irma, it was getting so crowded that we swore it off. Today the crowd was back but not to the same ridiculous extent. We enjoyed a swim to the north, to Spring beach. This place is so beautiful with its bright white sand and impossible blue water. The sand is so white, in fact, that it reflects the sun back on you and give you a sunburn under your chin. Worth it. 

Heather and Suzie are old college swimming buddies enjoying open water swimming together 25 years later!

 We spotted a baby nurse shark seeking the shelter of a rock ledge on our Baths rock swim.

We spotted a baby nurse shark seeking the shelter of a rock ledge on our Baths rock swim.

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We met our non-swimming guests Tammy and Deb for the hike portion of our Baths. They belied their titles by swimming the 300 yards back to the yacht. We almost always have non-swimming partners and spouses aboard, and I think these two most enjoying their blow-up tubes and floating around. 

We have a group of swimmers this week that just won’t quit. We get so many interesting people on these trips, and they all have lots of great stories about their past adventures. You often have to ask them a few times to pull the stories out of them. Guest Jamie, for instance, has done a (running) marathon on 5 of the 7 continents, including Antarctica (19 below zero in a stiff wind). She taught herself to swim 2 years ago by watching youtube videos, yet swims with more confidence in the open water than many people who have been swimming their whole lives.

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For lunch, Miriam allowed me to grill the burgers on the stern, something I love to do.

We yanked the hook and made our way to Mountain Point on the north end of Virgin Gorda.  Here we swam to the Moon Pool, a roofless room in a cliff than can only be accessed by swimming through an underwater tunnel. Some of us had a sculling race around a rock then swam back to the yacht in a line, switching lead every 30 strokes.

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Fun and silliness prevailed, cocktails flowed, snacks appeared. After our musical entertainment, the wind picked up as we climbed into our beds. It howled all night and blew in a rainstorm that cleaned off our salty decks. So that was Tuesday. In the morning we’ll check out a sunken WWII vessel with a giant rebar Kraken attached to it. Week days are great days on SwimVacation. 

- Hopper

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