March 20: Day 2
Day 2: The Baths and Moon Pool
We started the day at the Baths with a video session. Heather dived down and shot footage of each swimmer as they swam over her from three different angles so that Carter and the guides can analyze each swimmer’s stroke and point out places for improvement.
After the video-taping wrapped, Carter coached the swimmers from the boat on some drills and Dan and Jori came with me and Fitz for a quick tour of the Baths again. We saw lots of fish and submerged boulders. The relentless shifting of the tide pushed us along and through the rocks, nudging us along this incredible geological formation.
Carter gives Trudi some pointers about her stroke efficiency. Mary explores the Baths from below, and the whole crew walks the path through the boulders.
Back aboard, we enjoyed a hot breakfast of some of the fluffiest pancakes I’ve ever had and then we caught a ride in the dinghy to shore so we could tour the rest of the Baths on land. Caves, crevices, and tidal pools abounded, set in an otherworldly granite temple.
About an hour and a half later, we’d reached the end of the walking tour of the Baths and Felix brought us all back to the Promenade where we pulled up anchor to head to our afternoon swim spot. We soon reached Mountain Point at the northern end of Virgin Gorda, home of a hidden gem—the moon pool.
The moon pool was created by the action of the ocean wearing away the rock until it looked a bit like Swiss cheese. To visit the moon pool, a swimmer must dunk under and time their forward movement with the tidal surge. If you get the timing right and manage to thread your way through the small-ish opening without banging on the rocky gateway, you’ll be rewarded with one of the most amazing nooks in nature— a secluded, round grotto walled with barnacles and guarded by crabs. A sight not to be missed, Fitzy, Carter, Dan and I made it through while Heather and Kerry shot images from their underwater vantage points.
Kerry gets ready to photograph our swimmers entering the Moon Pool. Carter leads the way.
After we finished with the moon pool, we headed out for our afternoon swim, aiming for the rocks in the middle of the harbor. Once there, the group split into two packs, with several people heading back to the boat and Dan, Walt, Fitzy and I continuing on to the rocky point at the far corner of the bay. We covered the 700 yards in no time flat, only to turn around and run smack into a strong wind. The tail wind had propelled us quickly, but swimming back against it was going to be difficult. The swim, which had started out as a leisurely jaunt, soon became a test of our open water swimming skills.
I’m pleased to report that Dan and Walt did particularly well in the tough conditions back to the boat. Walt and I matched strokes the whole way back and just put our heads down and got there. With his left lat muscle bothering him, this was a real bright spot in the trip so far and a powerful reminder that we can all achieve things we never thought we could with the right support and motivation.
Our motivation to finish the swim? A trip to Michael Bean's one-man-band show at Leverick Bay where we enjoyed the islands’ specialty drink: the Painkiller. A light and sweet mix of coconut milk, orange juice, and rum all dusted with nutmeg, they go down smooth and leave you wanting more. And Michael Bean’s rousing show had several SwimVacationers eager to try their hands at the “Conch Blowing” contest. Fitz was narrowly defeated in the contest for Master Conch Blower, but we know he’s still top dog on this boat.
Mary enjoys the Pirate show, even though Fitzy was unable to defend his conch blowing title. We love you anyway, Fitz!
Tomorrow we’ll weigh anchor early and head somewhere, but we don’t know exactly where yet. Oil Nut Bay and Necker Island are both on the list of possibilities, but Captain Bazza will make a decision in the morning once he’s taken a look at conditions in a few locations. By afternoon, we should be at Guanna Island for our long swim: Three Miles!
For now, with full tummies and happy Michael Beans songs stuck on replay in our heads, we make for our snug cabins to rest up for tomorrow’s adventures.