11:20am. Village Cay Marina. Paul sits at a table, waiting. Twenty feet away from him, Jamie is sitting on a stone wall with his bag. Just a few meters away in the open air restaurant, Alison & Ken are finishing breakfast, and sitting just one table away from them are Bob & Judy. I love this concept – two couples and two solo travelers who don’t know each other yet, not even realizing they are sitting in the same place with people waiting for the same thing. Within minutes, they will embark on a fantastic week long adventure together.
We made introductions and got everybody settled in. It became immediately apparent that this group would have no trouble gelling. They jumped right into conversations with one another as we left Tortola and headed to Little Harbour, Peter Island. Will did the honors of swimming the stern line to shore – this ritual has become our kick off for SwimVacation trips, usually executed by Hopper or Will. Each has his own style.
We always tie up in the same place within Little Harbour – a place with a sandy bottom where the water is an impossible shade of blue. We had planned to swim after lunch, but the water just looked so delicious that we couldn’t wait, and most of us jumped in for a quick and refreshing dip.
Lunch was a buffet of salads and boat baked bread. We ate and chatted and went over a plan for the week. We digested a while and prepared for our first swim. First swims are often tentative events – people enter cautiously, or hold back a little and really just get a feel for their new environment. Not this crew. They came to swim and that’s just what they did, right off the bat. We hugged the shoreline out to a point and back and covered just about 1.5 miles. Everyone was happy (case in point: I’d love to tell you what Jamie looks like, but so far all I’ve seen is a huge, white toothed grin).
Back to the boat where some of us exchanged caps and goggles for fins and masks for a little snorkeling. We examined some little reefs and anemone covered rocks but mostly just reveled in being in this warm blue sea.
An exciting bit of news: during cocktail hour, Bob announced that Judy had just made the longest swim of her life. Right here in Little Harbour. Just like that. No worry, no stress, no build up or hesitation – she had jumped in and made the swim. As her guide, it looked to me like she’s been doing this all of her life.
Day one, major personal achievement. Check.
We’ve moved the boat now next door to Great Harbour where we’ll stay the night. I did a marine creature slide show and got everyone excited to see some wildlife. We had a fantastic dinner of tuna and pea pods and new friends were relaxed and easy with one another. Hours ago they were strangers. Tonight they are connected in a common purpose and a passion for the water. It’s just one of the special side effects of what we do.
11:20 pm. Everyone has gone to bed, resting up for our first full day. I’m excited to see what personal triumph will come tomorrow.