Shooting the Moon
Great breezes for sleeping last night. Mountain point always feels a little wilder than the rest of Virgin Gorda. Very little light pollution, not many other boats around. I hustled all day yesterday and was done with the blog early (in case you hadn't noticed!), so after stroke video review last night, I headed out to the trampoline. I can't remember such warm breezes. Millions of stars. It was just right.
The boat was so quiet this morning. I opened my eyes and saw our boat cat peering in through our hatch. Several minutes of cat play ensued which resulted in her nearly falling into our cabin and Heather and I bursting into laughter. A great start to the day.
The wind was blowing over breakfast, but miraculously, it all flattened out in time for our first plunge. Before our morning swim, we set out for the notorious Moon Pool. Conditions have to be just right - not too much swell for sure. The experience involves taking a breath of air, diving down about 5 or 6 feet, then swimming through an archway and back up into a rock-locked grotto. The timing is tricky because the surge, even if slight, will work against you one second, then shoot you rapidly into the direction you want to go in the next. Yesterday's experience at the Baths was good practice for this. We exercise trust and flow in our Moon Pool attempts. Several of us made it in, and several made the smart decision to recognize their limits. Like SwimVacation President Hopper always says, sometimes the bravest thing you can do is not go.
Heather swims into the Moon Pool, where we make a shameless selfie. During the swim we find Baz walking Stella cat, on a leash, on the beach.
Listening to our bodies in a week like this is important. Along those same lines, a few of us opted for fins on our morning swim around the bay at Mountain Point - me included. We've been swimming a lot and have a lot more to do. Why not take a little assist? We had a current pushing us back to the boat and we covered the distance in half the time it took to swim away. Another assist and no one complained.
Next, a long leisurely spinnaker run, from the north end of Virgin Gorda to White Bay, Peter Island, where we are now anchored. Moving along from north to south, there was quiet. There were gentle breezes. Easy conversations and some napping. A great lunch of salads under weigh and all under the lovely swell of Promenade's signature spinnaker sail. So so good.
On our arrival at White Bay, some swam to shore to sit on the beach for a while. Ken actually went for a run right in the hottest part of the day - I can't imagine how he did it. Then again, I usually don't leave this boat but to swim.
3 o'clock brought our afternoon swim activities, including a two beat kick clinic with Dave, and swimmer portrait sessions with me. You know. I love swimmer portrait day.
After I was done, Dave and Martin asked me what i was looking for in making those pictures. It was a great question with a simple answer: I want to make an image that looks like what it feels like when you swim. You. You know how you feel when you swim? I want to make that in a picture. This is a collaborative process. It takes presence from us both.
Martin & David
Dave flops into his photo session. Eric and Dave have made great guiding companions this week.
I'm so lucky this week in that two of my favorite swim photo muses are here - Janine and Alison. Janine wears her passion for being in the water. It's all over her. I can't miss. She quite literally glows and her joy is so clear. I got choked up shooting with her today and we shared a messy mid water hug. Alison is definitely 3/4 mermaid. Like me, she's happier in and under water. She's so sleek and graceful in her movements. And now she's carrying her second child…I couldn't stop pushing the button. All of our guests did great in the photo shoot today. They all came to me with their passion for swimming ready for the camera. Relaxed, confident, open, happy. All this and magnificent light to work with. So yeah, a great afternoon.
Ken & Alison
Alison and Ken get ready to welcome another swimmer into this world.
Dinner was a remarkable baked ziti (I'm really not sure where Gina is hiding all of this food before we get to it!), followed by chocolate brownies I couldn't have imagined.
830 pm and our Dave is rousting the troops for a night swim. Stars out, moon on the rise. Phosphorescence showing like a million flecks of light as hands moved through dark water. Many of our group - maybe all? - opted for this night swim in the nude, except for goggles and flashing night lights. This bunch is game. I guided from the SUP, and their procession looked like some water light show, a parade of tinker bells floating quietly around the boat. Of course I joined in eventually.
And now our swimmers are all asleep. They drank it all in today - dawn to dark. I'm so proud of this bunch and am enjoying them so much. In doing so I shot over 1000 pictures today. My early night last night is trumped by a late night tonight. It's worth it to share the reportage of a great great day.
Rest well swimmers. We have an epic swim planned for the morning. It will be a celebration of all that you have found in yourselves this week.
PS. For today's BCPD, I indulge a little, by adding Heather and I to Stella's pic. This was our attempt to recreate the photo taken of us nearly 40 years ago.