Day 3 - Surprise Visitors, Magic in the air.
When you play in the ocean, you see things. But first, a trip to land. The day started verrrry early. That dinghy I mentioned last night left for the dock at Peter Island and 530 am. On it were cool crew member Jessica headed for home, and Captain Chad, Guide Will and guests Sonia and Natalie, all headed for a run (up hill).
Our party came back all sweaty and smiles. I heard superlatives of gratitude about this land excursion from our swimmers. There were no goats, but one hell of a sunrise.
After their return I jumped in the water with SCUBA gear and video taped each of our swimmers for later stroke analysis by Will. Even Chad jumped in - apparently the Cap'n feels he's got something to learn yet about moving through water. After the filming session, Will put our guests through some drills - by the time a hot breakfast of pancakes and bacon was on the table, we'd all earned it.
Natalie and Sonia soak it up on a magic light morning run. Alina performs for my lens, Will gives the crew some swim drills.
The forecast for swells had changed overnight, and the sea was flat and inviting, so we made a run for the Baths at Virgin Gorda. Lots of boats there, but we found a mooring ball and claimed our spot.
We love this swim and this place - these amazing granite boulders, so out of place in the Caribbean, are strewn along miles of perfect white sand beaches. Over the years we've found a great path through which to swim - exciting and beautiful, and today was no exception. Our swimmers whooshed on waves through channels and crevasses in the boulders. A wild ride through a giant aquarium. The boulder swim adventure ends at the world's most phenomenal beach, in my humble opinion, and today, first to the pure white sand, I found a fantastic surprise. My photography agent and dear friend, Sara, was walking toward me along the water's edge. I recognized her from 15 yards, shouted her name and saw her turn. In what seemed like a very James Bond moment, what with me showing up via the sea, quite literally out of the blue, I swam to shore and ran up for a hug. Introductions, pictures. What are the odds?
A good hard swim back to the boat, more food (delicious boat-made pizza, Thanks, Chad!) and as we sit and eat, I spot a dolphin of our starboard side. I point, jump up, grab camera and wait. Soon it pops up again and again, and now I really can't stand it - Chad and Will are already in the water, so i don some fins and a mask and kersplash. In. Right behind me is Jenny, who gets a front row seat and a little hello from our marine mammal friend. Snap snap snap. Three pics of the first time a SwimVacationer encounters a wild dolphin in the BVI.
Jenny gets up close and personal with a dolphin who stares at her and opens mouth for a grin.
We played for a bit until the dolphin retreated and we climbed back aboard. We suited and packed up for our fantastic shore walk through the beached boulders. More great pics of our guests - see how they've relaxed and changed? It's hard to keep thinking about the stressors of home when you're in a place like this.
Back to the boat where we cast off, set to head north to Limerick Bay for jollymon Michael Bean's Happy Arrrrr. Just as Chad is about to hit the gas, our mammalian friend returns. Without skipping more than a beat I grab camera and gear and into the water I go. Not seeing the dolphin again, I decide - laugh if you must - to sing. Face in the water, I sing to this creature (my song choice is just between us). Sure enough, from out of the blue depths, it comes. The dolphin circles me and puts on a show of small leaps and spins. She is showing off for me. I'm ecstatic and forgetting to breathe. Picture after picture I make, until some of our guests take join us. The dolphin stays a few more minutes and poof, she's gone. we return to the boat, elated. An encounter with a wild dolphin. A SwimVacation first, and second!
Amid hoots and hurrahs and laughter and high fives we all towel off as Chad sets a course for Limerick Bay where we will catch happy arrrr. With a day like this, we have much to toast tonight.
Alina, Sonia and Nicole enjoy Happy Arrrrr....
Home to Promenade to ridiculous ribs, potatoes and brochette. We fill our belles, talk about the day some more. Slowly our swimmers trickle down to their bunks.
Here I sit, editing and blogging, confident we've given them a day to remember - a fantastic sunrise run, a unique swim through one of nature's geological wonders, surprise visits on shore and at sea, a stunning walk and a return visit from our rare and delightful friend. I'd like to say I'm pleased with myself, but really, I can't take much credit at all. Somehow this place always delivers the magic. Always. Sure we throw in great food and a pirate show, but there's something about the BVIs that just knocks this trip out of the park. I'm amazed. And not surprised. And as always, so grateful.
It could rain for the next 3 days and our guests would go home happy. The rest is just gravy.