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Crossing over.

Friday May 20th

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Our morning swim was from Cooper Island to Salt Island. We’ve done this swim a few times, as it’s right in the middle of where we want to be in the BVIs. Unfortunately, this swim has given us a difficult time in the past. Currents, chop, and swell have made it a little cranky. We decided to break it into segments this morning. Cooper to the Big Rock, the Big Rock to Salt Island, then on to the Man Head (a cool rock formation) then to the Prom and Nod. At this point, our guests are seasoned. They can do chop, wind, distance. They can take direction and execute swims. They can navigate. Awesome.

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We arrived at Salt Bay in time for lunch. This was an important place before the advent of refrigeration, as sailors needed to salt their food to preserve it for long journeys across the Atlantic. Heather did swimmer portraits near the shore while I looked for sea glass and octopi with Kerry. She found one who had just eaten a conch, and was still licking the inside of the beautiful pearl-pink shell. This gave us an idea: conch fritters! More on that in a bit.

 

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Our second swim was from Salt Bay to the Wreck of The Rhone. As I swam alongside our group, I was impressed with their confidence and power. Janine, in particular, caught my eye. When we first met her 4 trips ago, she was just discovering open water swimming. Now she’s swimming marathon distances on a regular basis, and we’ don’t hesitate to throw her into any conditions here in the BVIs or Hawaii, where she’s also joined us.

The sinking of The Rhone in the 1860s was a tragedy, but now her stern rests under just twenty feet of water, making it possible to get right up to with a mask and fins and have some fun. There’s a swim-through portion behind the massive propeller that’s exhilarating. You can still see the portholes, anchors, big tangles of early industrial age machinery. Our guests loved it, but getting out of the ocean for the last time this week was bittersweet.

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We sailed back to Road Harbor and the marina where we chartered the yachts. Conch fritters appeared, with spicy dipping sauce. The blender roared with frozen cocktails. A big pasta meal followed. Heather played her slideshow to the delight of all. This group photographed well. Then a dance party. Old friends from the Promenade appeared, including our pal Mr. Felix. More dancing.

 

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The challenges of the past few weeks really made Heather and I focus on making things as smooth as possible for our guests, and from the looks of them, tan, fit, and smiling, we succeeded. Our Captains, Laila, Chad, and Kerry, got us safely to our favorite swimming spots. Chef Mo fed us well. Bob was an excellent first mate. Our guides, Dave, Maury, and Simon, swam their hearts out. Next up: Kona, Hawaii!

Hopper

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