Day 1 - Splashdown.
Day 1. For the guides, there's nervousness and excitement. I want everything to be just perfect for our guests as they arrive. I scurry and prepare and go over things with Captain Chad. As I run around I narrate to Alina (guide in training) and she pitches in and picks up everything on the fly. At 1130, I actually feel like we're ready to start this thing.
The first to arrive are Natalie and Sonia from Washington state. They've already been in the islands for a few days and have a nice glow about them. They're not in a hurry, the ticking of their American internal clocks have already faded into the background. They board Promenade as if they've done it a million times before. Easy.
I run up to Village Cay Marina restaurant and find Nicole - she's had an airline adventure with canceled flights and shifting itineraries. She's come through a little frazzled but she's here with a big grin. She's found repeat guest Jenny and FIVE TIME SwimVacationer, Mark. We hit the boat and everyone settles into cabins.
The only one missing is Will, my fellow leader and guide. Delayed by a loose ferry schedule, he shows up to Promenade with barely a second to breathe and we're off.
Lunch and a cruise across the channel to Little Harbour, Peter Island. Will performs the traditional Day 1 stern line duties - a brilliant show on par with the 10 or 11 before today - this scene never disappoints.
Will does the honor of the swimming of the stern line. With....flare.
Splash. We jump in, cool off, rinse away travel in the aqua of the Caribbean Sea. Just a dip.
Nicole is the first one in!
Back on board for more welcome talk and information. A quick sighting and navigation clinic and we're off on our first swim. The harbour is much more crowded than usual today, and our swimmers pass through a gauntlet of tourists on floating noodles in the water. They wonder why on earth we would jump off a perfectly good boat and swim.
Jenny leaps. Five time guest Mark - smiles like this after every swim.
But that's just what our guests are here to do. They all seemed so comfortable in the water today, and fairly evenly paced. We stopped a few times for fish identifications, taking moments to appreciate this place.
Back to the boat. We untied and made our way around Peter Island to White Bay. We did this with a delicious plate of conch fritters and a generous pitcher of pain killers.
Anchored now in one of my favorite bays, where we were already treated to a lovely sunset and amazing Caribbean meal prepared by Chad and Jessica (special props to Alina for her work on the fried plantains!).
Some chatter and getting to know you stories into the night, and now are guests are all to bed. I'm last one up - I enjoy this opportunity to recount our days. It's fun to see our guests come to us still in the halo of home. But I know about the transformation they have ahead of them...