TGIM = Thank God It’s Monday.
You’d say that too if you’d been here….What a day.
Woke up to coffee and sunshine and the flat calm of Great Harbour, Peter Island. Everyone got ready for a 730 swim briefing – these kids are here to swim.
We plotted two ambitious courses – a short course and a long course, 2 and 3 miles respectively. Of course in the middle of this long swim, we enjoyed a good and silly bounce on the water trampoline – one of my favorite SwimVacation stops. Crazy fun, and not an insignificant effort in the middle of a 2 or 3 mile swim!
The wildlife community delivered for us – a spotted eagle ray, a sting ray, barracuda, tarpon, a few turtles, schools of squid, a giant puffer, flamingo tongues all joined us along the way.
After the swim I threw on the dive gear and jumped in the water with our arsenal of underwater video cameras and had our swimmers each make several passes for detailed underwater stroke analysis. Tonight Will is doing a stroke clinic overview and then he’ll go over everyone’s videos individually with them. Watching yourself swim is probably the single most helpful way to improve your efficiency in the water.
As our swimmers exited the water, they put in their orders for a fantastic custom hot breakfast. Our hungry little birds made quick work of eggs, bacon, toast, banana pancakes and fruit.
Bazza pulled Will and I aside and let us know that the channel was relatively flat and calm – something that doesn’t happen all that often down here. Conditions were perfect for us to make a very special afternoon swim.
In the days of Black Beard the pirate, that mean scalawag would punish mutinous sailers by dumping them off on the desolate Dead Chest Island, a monolithic rock faced landmass at the collision point of the Sir Francis Drake Channel and the Caribbean Sea. They had neither food nor water. These resources were a mere half mile swim away, on the lush island we know today as Peter Island. Problem #1: the channel crossing was treacherous. Problem #2: pirates couldn’t swim. Many men lost their lives trying to escape Dead Chest Island, and their bodies would wash up, ironically, onto the very island they were trying to reach, in what has become known as Dead Man’s Bay.
November 2009: SwimVacationers became the first people to ever do what Black Beard’s men could not – Survive the crossing.
December 2011: SwimVacationers make another unprecedented swim – they become the first swimmers to make the crossing….backwards!
Conditions were perfect, but logistics led us to start at Peter and cross to Dead Chest. Only our intrepid swimmers would swim toward an island of no return….and live to tell the tale.
Everyone was pumped. We jumped in off the Promenade and crossed in two swimming pelotons. My group was had a turtle escort for the final 100 meters of the swim (thanks, little buddy!). We all high fived in the shallows of Dead Chest and climbed back aboard the Promenade, waiting for us near by. We devoured a lunch as we motored upwind to our overnight mooring at The Baths.
We got to beautiful Virgin Gorda and our swimmers decided they weren’t quite done. Several jumped in to snorkel around, and Paul, Jamie and Ken made a dive with me, Lisa and Kerry. Our guests spent between 4 to 6 hours in the water today. Towel please.
Dinner? No leftovers – sorry! Dessert was boat made vanilla ice cream and brownies. Go ahead. Have seconds. You’ve earned it!
A banner Monday with numerous achievements, many made possible by the glorious conditions today. Thank you BVI. Take that, Blackbeard.
I’m sitting in the Salon perched above our guests who are all rapt by Will’s stroke efficiency talk. They’re watching the magic of Michael Phelps on the flatscreen and Will is breaking it down for them bit by bit. Tomorrow we’ll try to implement some of the finer points of stroke efficiency.
I think our charges will sleep well tonight. I know I will. And for as good a day as they had today, they have the splendor of The Baths to look forward to in the morning. Sleep well, friends. I wonder: about which of your incredible moments from the day will you dream?
PS. Let it be noted that for the second day in a row, our rookie swimmer Judy broke her own distance record with a 2 mile swim and a one of a kind channel crossing. Jeez, Judy, what will tomorrow hold???!