Friday - The Best of Maine

6:45 a.m.  - I flipped over onto my back while swimming around Joyce Island for A quick look back at our guests. While there, I saw some blue sky peeking through the overcast. Joy. 8:15 a.m. - Everyone has the fire burning; lots of swimming = lots of eating. We all mow through heaps of pancakes and eggs, except for guide Heather, who is mowing through hundreds of photos, choosing the best ones for this blog and the photo books she will create after the trip. I linger after breakfast, grabbing guests one at a time to review videos of their stroke from the day before. We have ability levels ranging from seasoned open water/life-long competitive swimmer to a spouse of a swimmer who is just starting out. For everyone, I introduce concepts in three categories: balance, drag reduction, and propulsion. Yesterday we took videos from both underwater and from above; they look great and reveal some obvious areas for improvement, including my own stroke.

9:42 a.m. - Can't…..type……now……….guide Cortney is running a core class on the deck of the lodge. Oh the burn………….

11:06 a.m. - Crooked Island is little uninhabited jewel about a mile from our little island. It's covered in pine trees and wild blueberry bushes. It has a sandy beach, a little clearing for picnics, and a rope swing. We create a flotilla of canoes, a kayak, and a paddle board with a guide atop. 5 guests will swim to the island, the rest will paddle there, then jump off their vessels and swim around the island. As we take off, the clouds part, the wind dies to almost nothing, and the water turns glassy. We make a big presence on the lake, and the only boat that we can see stays well clear of us. The guides stick with the guests stroke for stroke, offering encouragement or advice on stroke and navigation. We land on the sandy beach, a freshwater version of the white sandy beach we land on in the British Virgin Islands. Adults and kids alike explore the trails on the island and quickly locate the rope swing. The results are best described by photo.



Austin, one of the excellent staff members at Taconnet, had pre-delivered our picnic lunch and any gear that didn't fit in the canoes. Sandwiches, cookies, and brownies taste all the better out here.The kids collect rocks, the adults talk and stretch out on flat rocks. Life is easy at this moment. It's moments like this that I created SwimVacation for. We'll have several more of them today.

All original 5 island to island swimmers make the return trip. I swim stroke for stroke with guest Laurie. We fall into a groove. It seems like it takes 5 minutes to cover the mile on the glassy lake.





3:40 p.m. I'm running late for our splash-around time at the Wheeler Dock, home to the Dacszowski party this week. As I'm about to grab the paddle board for the quick trip over to our swimming location, I spot three things. 1) A gallon of water, much needed to make ice, as we have run out. 2) Peaches, and 3) Oranges. I quickly assemble these ingredients in my mind with some other stuff I know we have in the kitchen; red and white wine, seltzer, lemons, limes, rum, and sugar. Sangria!!! I know it will make me even later for our splash-around, but I can't help myself.  Happy hour is only an hour away now, and sangria needs to be chilled a bit. I cut, squeeze, pour, stir, and taste. Yum. I show up for splash time just as guests start splashing and we get some more great photos.





5:28 p.m. - Guides' Happy hour is in full swing on our deck. I count 8 different kinds of cheese, champagne, blueberry mojitos, smoked salmon, and more. After what seems like 5 minutes, the island dishwasher runs by with the clacker, a noisemaking instrument designed to alert us for dinner. We walk to the lodge en masse, where we come upon several long dining tables set up outside, under the maples and pines. These are piled high with bright red lobsters, clams, corn, and baked potatoes. We somehow find room for mixed berry shortcake. We roll back to our cabins after watching the kids and island staff play a chess-like game of capture the flag.


11:09 p.m.  - Loons call. Stars reflect off the pond in a dazzling display.  Tomorrow, home day. Another amazing SwimVacation experience is put to bed. zzzzzzz.

- Hopper.