Just getting started.
Last night, after our night swim (Hi! Welcome! You're on SwimVacation!) and great, filling dinner, everyone slept. We shut off the generator around 11 - hatches open and doors ajar, cool breezes moved through the boat, keeping everyone comfortable in near silence except for the gentle lapping of water on hull. This is my favorite way to sleep - on a boat, engine off, gentle rocking.
We were out of range of internet last night, so I couldn't do much of the work I often do after everyone goes to bed - posting the blog and other general business. It was a nice excuse to head to bed a little earlier than I usually do. None of our guests seemed to notice or care much about being out of touch with the world. Almost immediately this bunch has relaxed into vacation mode.
This morning we woke to a silent sunrise (Actually, I awoke to the tinkling of a bejeweled collar tag of one princess cat peeking into my hatch. Cutie pie). The soft aqua blue of Maho Bay, St. John, slowly began to glow. Something happens when we get our marathon swimming guide, Dave Barra, here in Maho Bay. He gets very excited to take people on big long swims. There's a little island just beyond the point of the bay called Whistling Cay. We swam out to and around it a few years ago. It's a BIG swim. And every time it comes into view, i see Dave get itchy.
Dave! It's the first full day of swimming! Let's take it easy on them!
<Itch itch itch>
So we plot an ambitious course - nearly 3.25 miles, around Maho Bay out to the Cay around and back. We put bright orange buoys on everyone and threw them in the water. We worked on some sighting and navigation and set off.
My group worked on stroke technique and sighting and went about 1.5 miles. Dave took his intrepid bunch to the edge of Whistling Cay - they gathered there, discussed how everyone was feeling, made a great choice and turned to come back without going around. They still logged a 2.6 mile swim (a record for Robin!) and all came back charged and exuberant. Seeing dozens of giant turtles in unimaginable turquoise waters probably helped.
Now, belles full of pasta salad lunch, we're under sail to our next stop - Peter Island in our home waters of the British Virgin Islands. Everyone is resting, some in the sun, some in the shade. We'll land in another hour or so, and jump in for more.
Janine grabbed a pic of me rinsing off in my SwimVacation suit. Martin took a turn at the wheel while everyone chatted and enjoyed the ride.
Janine, Heather and Alison seem to have a tough time relaxing under sail.
3 pm. Arrival in Little Harbour, Peter Island. We suit up, lotion up, and get ready for a swim. Dave has offered a stroke clinic and everyone wants in. We split our swimmers into 2 groups: 1/2 with Dave, 1/2 with Eric and I for a swim to the point. Then a switch. Everyone felt immediate results from Dave's knowledge about stroke efficiency.
What a lovely swim. A nice relaxed pace and great wildlife sightings. We did a little coral course, met some flamingo tongues (merit points to Ken for remembering all about them from his last trip with us!).
A large tarpon flashed by, feeding on schools of silversides, and then, the highlight: Heather and Janine found an Octopus!
Very difficult to spot, we don't often see octopus on our swims. They are masters of camouflage and capable of squeezing into small crevices in the reef. This one put on quite a show, octopusing along from coral head to coral head, showing blue one minute and muted gray with blotches of pink the next. A meandering Rorschach creature. It even let me approach on a free dive for a photo op.
Eric nailed a shot of me pointing out the octopus to Carrie. Octopus puts on a show for us. Stella cat came out in the dinghy and looks like she'd like a go at the octopus.
We got back to Promenade in stunning evening light. The sea was calm and warm (so warm!) and there was a lot of loitering before getting out. Some took to yoga moves on the stand up paddle board. Some just lounged on the deck and enjoyed a cocktail or two.
Michael and Carrie enjoying the sunset calm.
Dinner was shrimp deliciousness and stir fry. Dessert was a key lime cheese cake pie i just simply didn't have the room for, but heard was great.
Another SwimVacation first: more than half our guests were in their bunks by 830 pm! I guess this morning's big swim and this afternoons stroke work and reef creature tour really wore them out. Sweet dreams my swimmers. We've got s fun day planned for you tomorrow.
As i sit below finishing the day's photo and blogging work, I hear the sound of my fellow quides talking strings and chords as they take turns playing Eric's ukelele (another SwimVacation first!). Pictures of that tomorrow. For now, I think I'll grab a drink and head on up to enjoy light sounds in warm night air.
Michael has a moment of perfection on the SUP
A huge sun sets behind Tortola across the channel.