7 swimmers and 4 guides jumped off the stern of the Promenade for our morning swim. There’s a great stretch of reef here, between Little and Great harbors. It’s along the Drake Channel, so few if any boats have ever anchored there, and snorkelers tend not to brave the choppy conditions on this isolated stretch. Thus the healthy coral. We all made it all the way to Great Harbor and back, about 2 miles. Lots of smiles, feelings of accomplishment.
Back aboard, the clouds rolled in, the wind picked up, and rain showers swept over the islands. Captain Bazza told me there was a very narrow window to have good conditions at The Baths, a favorite swimming spot. It would be a 1-1/2 hour motor into the wind, in heavy chop and driving rain. We decided to do it. I was proud of the guests, they all stayed in the cockpit, eyes fixed on the horizon to avoid seasickness. It worked. Bazza was soaked at the helm, while Kerry was tossed around the Galley preparing lunch. Sometimes the charter boat business is just plain hard work and these guys always put in the effort for us. As we anchored in the lee of the baths in calm water, the sun came out, as did a lovely seafood salad.
I’ve never seen water so clear than what we had at the Baths today. You could read the date off a penny on the bottom at 15 feet. We swam between the smooth granite rocks like Formula 1 racers, allowing the light swell to push us into underwater grottoes. A friendly barracuda wound up in our ranks, she stayed calm and enjoyed our company. A nurse shark of the same demeanor graced us with her presence, then glided away into the depths. We ended the swim at a bright white sandy beach in Spring Bay. Smiles and photos erupted.
The return trip to Cooper Island aboard the Promenade was calmer, wind at our backs. Banana drinks were served along with apps. Bazza found a calm anchorage. Tuna steaks covered in a tomato chutney came out. I think there was a key lime pie. We land heavy in our beds, shoulders tires, dreaming of our friendly barracuda.