Day 6


TBIF = Too Bad It's Friday. I don't remember the last time I wished it wasn't Friday, but today was sweet-bitter-sweet. Can it be we've come to the end of this amazing week?

But first, another jam packed day to report!

Woke up in our new bay (South Bay) to stiff winds. Whatever, we're going for a swim. And a new swim we've never done before. Our swimmers want distance? We give them distance. Our swimmers want deep water? We give them deep water. Our swimmers like it rough (Bob and Judy chant "The rougher the better!"), we give it to them. We even throw in some turtles, sting rays, tons of reef fish, tarpon and a big barracuda, just for fun. We plotted a course from Promenade, to the end of South Bay, back past Promenade, around to White Bay, and into Spring Bay. Oh, and then back. Call it a triple bay swim. Call it wind in our faces both ways (what?? Yes.). Call it you wanted it rough, you got it, kiddo. Call it three long good miles.

And yes, that makes 20.

Twenty miles, five days. A SwimVacation record.

Team work: Will, Alison and Jamie took turns leading and drafting off of one another. Paul and I did the same. This is the swimmer equivalent of offering one another piggy back rides. We literally pulled each other to the finish.

We climbed back aboard Promenade, pumped, worn, and feeling pretty damned proud of ourselves. Up went the sails and we settled in for the hour or so ride to Beef Island, Tortola. The seas were slightly rough, but this boat is so stable, she merely rocks up and down a bit. Not sure if it was that or the morning swim, but more than one of us found a quiet place to nod off to sleep. Good to see everyone resting, so pleased with their accomplishments. Good to know we finally tuckered them out. I know they tuckered me and Will out.

Had another great lunch in a little bay off Beef Island. We did another round of video taping and then enjoyed a leisurely swim / snorkel around the mangroves. This spot has become a Swimvacation favorite treat. It's a place we can hide from the wind, as can tons of juveniles of all marine species. It's like visiting a kindergarten for the Caribbean sea.

Time to head back, and I absolutely hated to get out of the water. Somehow I managed. Showered and spiffed up - we all came out dressed for our last evening together. Fantastic dinner of pasta, cheesy garlic bread and Kerry's delicious version of bananas foster (Ok, Kerry, this is your last chance to fatten this group up!). After dinner we watched a slideshow from our week. Mostly my photographs (and videos!) with a few from contributing guests and guides, perfectly arranged and set to music by Will. Everyone loved it so much, we watched it again. It really is incredible to see such an amazing and jam packed week flash before your eyes in an 8 minute slideshow. How could it have only been a week? How could we have done and seen so much?

The conversation around the dinner table was joyous and congratulatory. We all talked about which swim was our favorite, and favorite moments from the week. By far, what everyone commented on most was the incredible camaraderie of this group. This week was a real team effort. No matter who swam, or who sat one out, or who climbed into the dinghy at the end of a swim, this group was unified in the goal each day. Working hard in the water, cheering from the boat, sharing in the joy on completion. I felt it, we all felt it. The things we can accomplish when surrounded by friends with a common goal!

Some real bonding moments were our first epic swim from Monkey Point to Muskmellon Bay off of Guana, and suffering through Will's challenging drills. Nobody quit. Everyone exceeded their own expectations for themselves. And that, as always, is what makes this thing so special to be a part of.

Will reviewed today's stroke videos with everyone, and every single swimmer has made changes in their stroke mechanics and increased efficiency. That's a lot to do in one week.

But that's what you came here for, now didn't you? You came to swim. Swim you did. Longer and farther and faster than you thought you could. And the confidence you earned here will pay you dividends in the stuff that life will throw at you from now on. Remember how the wind blew, and you got in the water. Remember how the swell rose up, and you kept going. Remember how you wanted to "Finish this thing!" and you did.

I know I won't forget.

Tomorrow we'll enjoy one more cup of coffee together and step off Promenade and begin to head off in different directions. But the strides we made together this week? Indelible.

To long, strong strokes, anchors and high elbows. To epic swims not done alone. To confidence and camaraderie and shared passion for what we do. To friends we'll swim with again.

Cheers and thanks, all!

- Heather.