March 26: Day 1

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Tonight, along with all of the male guides and guests, I ate conch penis. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Morning swim/stroke filming at Mountain Point, Virgin Gorda.  Flat calm water. This gives Captain Bazza and Admiral Kerry an idea: motor out to Horseshoe reef near Anegada. There's a wreck there, they tell us, an unbelievable reef, and weather conditions that come along once in a decade. We'll go where SwimVacation has never gone before. Settle in for a long ride out into open sea. No land, anywhere in site. We're thrilled by the promise of adventure. Sat net to guest Yafa, a Neurologist from California for awhile, and we chatted about the medical field, swimming, and Richard Branson (as we passed his soon-to-be-rebuilt home on Necker Island). The question came up as to whether Mr. Branson was gay. Unconfirmed. Yafa has been on some privately-run swimming adventures, and adds a certain wisdom and charm to our group. She's a blast to swim with, too, always excited to see what's around the next bend.

  

Yafa immerses.

The wreck of the Rocus is a 1927 steam ship in about 20 feet of water. Boilers, ribs, stern, all really intact, even after almost 100 years of violent seas and hurricanes. But today the seas are relatively calm here, the water clear to over 100 feet. Back on the boat for lunch and short trip inside the reef to anchor in a vast expanse of turquoise water. Everyone just sat and stared at it for about 15 minutes; dazzling sun, sparkling blue sea, warm breeze.

 

  

Snorkeling on the wreck of the Rocus. Bazza in the dinghy at Anegada reef. They make the stingrays BIG (and beautiful here!).

Naps, cookies, books, then a circular swim around a group of coral gardens. The coral is in excellent shape here; wind, chop, and rough seas keep boats and people away from here 360 days a year. Large schools of blue tang, massive stingrays, yellow snapper, butterfly fish, angelfish. One circle turned into two, then one of those sunsets behind a pink haze so you could look right at it. We arrived back on the boat greeted by a pitcher of Kerry's bushwhackers.

 

Guides Hopper and Dave extend our first swim in this special and new SwimVacation location.

 

Kerry offered to make us some conch fritters, and I set to the task of preparing them for cooking. Felix helped me re-learn how to crack conch. and before you knew it, these salty sea snails were popping out of their shells. Two of them had a penis. I asked Felix if you could eat it. He said yes. We did.

 

Sundown, stars stars stars and very little light pollution. Fun find the most obscure/distant star game with star identification contraption and Guide Heather. She won with a star 434 light years away and I can't remember the dorky name it had because it is now 1:17 a.m. and I have a sunburn. Out.

- Hopper.