Swimming (and surfing and singing) with Friends.

Last night’s light show in Baker’s Bay. Heat lightning for hours.

Last night’s light show in Baker’s Bay. Heat lightning for hours.

First light and the wind.

First light and the wind.

I heard it before I opened my eyes - the wind. It was howling. We knew it was coming and we were prepared to head south, and I figured we’d just work with what we had for our morning swim.

Things I love about this group:

  1. They swim straight. You have no idea what an asset it is to a swim guide when his or her charges swim straight, on their own. I’ve never had a SV bunch that swam so straight, every last one of them. What a treat.

  2. They swim. No matter what. Tuesday’s calm, yesterday’s menacing skies, today’s HOWLING wind, caps on, goggles on (except for Robert - still don’t know how he does it), “where are we swimming?” they say.

  3. They support each other and wait for each other. Getting in the water, getting out and back onto the boat.

Let me back up. After I heard the wind howling, I heard a splash. It was Robert and his daily sunrise swim, without goggles, to the beach for a walk or a run or whatever it is he does ashore in the wee hours of the morning. Love it. Go, Robert, go. And I don’t ever worry that he’ll hang some errant left and end up on the next Cay over.

Robert being the storm on his return from sunrise expedition, red eyes daily from his refusal to swim with goggles. Dave embracing the wind. A rainbow validating we are doing something right.

So the wind and the splash and then a crash. Some plate flew out of the fridge when Miriam opened it and crash it shattered all over the floor. Skipper Richie appeared in an instant and got on clean up. Sadly, last night’s left over chocolate turtle thingies were collateral damage in the mess, something my thighs will be grateful for.

A note about our crews on SwimVacation - we take care of each other. We spell each other at the front or the back of the pack if someone needs it, we try to keep each other hydrated (high marks for Richie on this point who refuses to let my water bottle go dry), and we generally help out where help is needed. It makes for a better experience for everyone. And it’s been a pleasure to watch our guests do the same for one another.

These are the things that happen when you live on a boat. The wind blows, things rock and shift and break and we come to each other’s rescue in our tight little community of 14.

So in that spirit, The Daves and I plotted a fun togetherness scheme for a morning swim that capitalized on the high winds coming straight at us from across the strip of land that is Great Guana Cay. We broke up into two pace groups and planned two drafting / synchro swimming exercises back and forth in the few hundred yards between the boat and the soft white sandy beach. It goes like this: Into the wind, we swim in a conga line. The front person sights and swims, and by the end of the line, the person at the back gets a free ride. After 40 strokes, the leader drops to the back, and so on. It’s a great way to learn about drafting and to make a swim into the wind seem like nothing at all. Coming back with the wind at our backs, we all swam shoulder to shoulder, swimming at the same pace, sharing energy and effort, gliding long and strong. No matter the chaotic noise of the wind and the white caps, everyone had fun trying something new and embraced the challenge and the ride. There was laughter and beach running and splashing and general cavorting. The freaking wind blew and these kids had a blast. No whining on this yacht.


We climbed aboard and bundled up and headed for the water fill docks. From there, we turned tail and sailed from the wind, Dave and I working with Skipper to find a place we could seek refuge from it. We’re holed up now in a place new to us, the north western bay of Man O War cay. Windy for sure, but I know we’ll be able to put a swim together here. With this crowd, just about any kind of swim is a pleaser. Right now I hear a ruckus out on deck - Robert is in the water (no goggles) and everyone else is throwing a ball and he is fetching it and throwing it back. I love a group that can entertain themselves no matter what.

More after our afternoon windy swim!

So our windy swim turned into a really windy swim. We could see the Atlantic crashing on the other side of the island so we beached ourselves and walked across (only about 25 yards) to check out the chaos. Chaos. Huge waves breaking with absolutely no rhythm. The Daves and Robert were like kids in a puddle, duck diving and body surfing and rolling in the froth. Allie joined them briefly while I fought to stay standing in the knee deep pull. I knew I wasn’t up for a beating…I know the punishment of breaking surf all too well from Hawaii. But they had a blast and got sand so deep in their crackers it may never come out.


John and Frances went for a longer swim, and Patty came out and went back after she and I rescued the SUP as it tried to carry Susan back to Great Abaco in the 30 knot winds. We eventually all made our way back to the boat (Robert actually went to the wrong boat but that can happen when you don’t wear goggles) where we rinsed and piled into the cockpit and salon to stay out of the wind and the intermittent rain. 

This group is happy no matter what you throw at them. They are all out there right now doing a karaoke version of Bohemian Rhapsody. I’m hiding in my tiny cabin to finish the blog, but Dave just reported the carousing evening finale of this Queen classic to be “Sloppy, heartfelt and mismanaged, but just what everyone needed”.

Any Way the Wind Blows, indeed.

- Heather