Drone Drama and Wrapping 20

G0019462SwimVacation’s promotional video is great, but getting a little dated.  I’ve had this vision for a new one that involves an aerial shot high above some dramatic cliffs, panning across clifftop foliage, then revealing a crystal blue sea far below, with a group of swimmers gliding smoothly across the frame. I needed just the right group at just the right spot with the proper sun and weather. This morning, it all came together as Heather piloted the drone over the southern tip of Norman Island’s cliffs and across Angelfish reef, while this week’s guests swam in a nice tight pack. G0019500G0019557G0019798

Flying a drone in these conditions is dicey; we’ve got a battery life of only about 15 minutes. This drone (we call her Sally) isn’t waterproof, so an accidental landing in the ocean would be disastrous, killing both the drone, the GoPro camera attached to it, and any video we took during the flight. We talked about the shot beforehand, briefed the guides and swimmers, and launched her.  I keep one eye on the drone and one eye on my watch while Heather pilots from the cockpit of the yacht. We've installed a UHF transmitter on her so we can see what she sees. Everything gelled, and the results from the shoot are fantastic. I can’t wait to start marketing with the video and stills we produced today.

Heather and I put Sally away and jumped in to catch up with the group. Angelfish reef didn’t disappoint this morning, with all kinds of colorful fish and coral. We swam in and out of the caves, then backtracked and lollygagged along the reef again. I noticed some of the guests using their new free diving skills to get up close to the wildlife, including a very young turtle that didn’t seem to mind. A fat barracuda followed us around like a dog.


Admiral/Cook Kerry, of The Promenade, was in a big breakfast mood, and she produced what looked like 4 pounds of bacon and 3 dozen eggs for us. Most of us splash hot sauce all over everything, it just tastes great on everything in the islands.

Time to move. The Caribbean side of Norman Island is desolate, dramatic, and rarely visited. It has one small anchorage spot, with room for one boat, in a lovely little place called money bay, supposedly named for the coins that would wash onto the beach from the numerous shipwrecks in the area. We launched the power lounger, some light afternoon drinks were shaken, and the napping commenced. We took more drone video.


Our last swim was a simple one around Money Bay, giving us a total of 30.5K for the week, slightly above average. On the way back in Road Harbor, champagne was uncorked and nibbles placed out. Toasts were made. Heather put on a fantastic slide show after a seafood over rice dinner and a plate of fudge and pineapple.


As our guests depart this morning, I’m already looking forward to seeing them back here in the BVIs, or maybe in Hawaii or Turkey next year. I’m proud of this crew for pulling off one of our best trips yet. Number 20 was awesome.




Hard to leave our beloved Promenade and the family she holds. We leave some items behind for our next trip - the night swim lights, the SwimVacation banner, little bits of our hearts. Thanks to these islands, to Bob, Kerry & Bazz, even Princess Stella - world's most pretty boat cat - for our 20th week of swimming in this blue sea. December can't come soon enough.

Hopper & Heather