Guest blogger Alison writes: Hello again – it’s return SwimVacationer, Alison. After just 9 months, Ken and I are back in the BVI with Heather and Will! I was worried that my love of the first trip arose from the novelty. Mais non, mes amis! In a way, the second trip has been even better; right away, we could relax because we knew we were in good hands. Interestingly, we’ve embraced the differences; rather than trying to replicate the first trip, we are enjoying what makes this journey unique. This group is more ‘swimming focused’, seeking improvements in technique, speed, open water experience, and distance.
SwimVacation has so many spectacular moments. There are the expected firsts – longest distance (Megan accomplished a PR today!), most technical (yesterday, Paul, Jamie, and I battled an awesome current and 3 miler with Heather and Will…exhaustion!), new species (sighting the school of squid), and underwater filming. But it’s the unexpected surprises that make the experience. Today had quite a few: Ken’s first slalom ski, our first wreck dive, the massive (massive) grouper that occupies the Rhone, changing plans mid-day to find the best swim site, and free diving records!
Our day began with dynamic stretching run by Megan. In the water we jumped into drills and vertical kicking, then a chance to practice technique in Muskmellon Bay. Will’s advice was hugely helpful, albeit challenging to implement at first. But, we quickly improved by leaps and strides (or strokes and kicks, as the case may be)! Breakfast was amazing – Keri presented a spread of delicious eggs Hollandaise, home fries, and a fresh fruit salad. This fueled us through a mid-day dive at the Wreck of the Rhone. I was truly amazed at the juxtaposition of coral, marine life and the stark architecture of the Rhone. Lulu pointed out a gigantic grouper, two blow fishes, forests of Christmas tree worms, and a school of barracudas. Then I noticed a portal and hatch, abruptly reminding me of the history behind the wreck. Meanwhile, other members of our group snorkeled. Will and Paul free dove through the propeller, tapping out at 55 feet!
By afternoon, we arrived at White Bay off Peter Island, the only boat in the calm, quite bay. Our guides plotted a course for everyone’s level and Lisa supported us from the dingy. Immediately, an elegant spotted eagle ray introduced herself, followed shortly by a tailless stingray. I let Jamie and Will pull ahead while I worked on my stroke. Heather and Ken found a nursery of silversides and needle fish diving into the action. Surprisingly, we returned to the boat to find Bazza enticing us to waterski. Not knowing if they had any energy left, Bob and Ken asserted their prowess by covering every last corner of the bay!
Just when you think I am done – really, how could we pack more into the day?! Well, we spruced up for dinner, danced a little, and gathered on the trampolines. Judy waited all year to see the Geminid meteorite shower and the skies were clear, just for her! The bounty of shooting stars was truly magical. Life is good.
PS. Thanks, Alison!
PPS. Conversation between Paul and Will today:
Paul: "This is SwimVacation, it's DreamVacation!"
Will: "We don't dream it, we DO it! It's DoVacation!"
Cheers to that, Gentlemen.