The British Virgin Islands are famous for having great sailing conditions: steady tradewinds and lots of harbors. Today the sailing conditions are horrendous. Hurray for us! Flat calm seas greeted us this morning as many of our guests ran or hiked to the top of Peter Island to watch the sunrise. Let’s talk about SwimVacation breakfasts for a second. We lay out fresh fruit, yogurt, granola, bread and spreads, and cereal. Lots of coffee. We used to do big elaborate hot breakfasts but it was turning into EatVacation, so we lightened breakfast up a few years ago.
These calm conditions reminded me that the reef between our current location (Great Harbor) and our previous location (Little Harbor) is fabulous, untouched, healthy, so that’s where we planned our swim. First, our guests did a few laps over Heather while she took video of their strokes, via SCUBA, for later analysis. Then we did a timed swim: 30 minutes out, then back to the Promenade. I first swam with Frances, who fast and powerful stroke, and then Kellie, who’s Australian heritage shines through with how smooth and comfortable she is in the water. The reef didn’t disappoint. Frances saw a seahorse. Kellie and I saw some southern sting rays. The water was glassy, and all we had to do to sight was barely lift our heads an inch out of the water.
Back aboard, the seas still calm, we napped. All over the boat. Guest Mary Parke took two naps during this time, a SwimVacation record. We read books, applied sunblock, talked about home and about the places we’ve traveled. This group gelled quickly. We weighed anchor after lunch and headed to Salt Island and the wreck of the Rhone.
In 1867, the 310 foot long RMS Rhone, in the middle of a hurricane, steamed out of Great Harbor, Peter Island, trying to avoid being grounded. In the Captain’s attempt to get out to sea, It slammed into Black Rock on Salt Island, taking the same route the Promenade took today (we tossed an anchor in before we hit the rock). It sunk, and it was tragic, but it now lies on the seafloor in waters shallow enough to view when snorkeling. Once there, we donned fins, masks, and snorkels to check out this amazing wreck. Chef Mo turns out to be quite the freediver, and took us through some deep scary passages at the ships massive rudder. We survived, thrived even.
Our evening swim took us from the Rhone to Salt Bay, just around the corner. Flat calm. Clear waters. Guide Heather broke out Drone Sally, and practiced taking videos and stills of me and Will as we swam to and from the boat. We’re completely waterlogged at this point. Pruned. We climb aboard, greeted with a frozen banana-ey adult beverage. Suffering is at a minimum. Dark and stormies soon appeared. Moussaka for dinner, perfectly spiced and paired well with an Australian Shiraz. Gooey chocolate dessert. More laughs. zzzzzzzzzzzz.