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March 19: Day 1

Day 1: Swimming, Hiking, and Dance Parties
Hanging on one of the world’s BEST beaches – Just north of The Baths, Virgin Gorda
Monday dawned clear and sunny after a night filled with rain, wind and more rain. Hatches shut in the middle of the night after an unexpected dousing in our beds. But the morning was clear and ready for swimming.
We started with a long swim enjoying the scenery at Great Harbour. We paused briefly at the “No Anchor” sign, just for the fun of it. Swimmers can “drop anchor” just about anywhere– especially in these salty, buoyant waters– by lying back and floating, which we did a fair bit of! Then we continued on to the yellow huts on the far side of the Harbour and had a choice to hop in the dinghy with Felix for a ride back, swim straight across to the Promenade or swim back along the shore. Jori and Debbie headed back the long way to the boat while Walt, Mary, Janine and I swam at a leisurely pace across the deep water back to the boat where a hot breakfast was waiting for us. Carter, the youngest swimmer on the trip, was the only one to take the dinghy back, proving that SwimVacation is not necessarily a vestige of the young.
After breakfast, most everyone headed onto Peter Island to either run, hike, or just enjoy the scenery of this secluded tropical spot covered in various lizards and brilliant red, pink and purple flowers.
   
Returning from a visit to Peter Islands. The wreck of Vagabond. Debbie snorkels for a better look.
Once we all got back on board, we loosed the mooring and steamed towards Virgin Gorda across water that wasn’t flat. We decided enroute to stop for a while at the Vagabond wreck near Fallen Jerusalem to check out the sights with some snorkeling and scuba diving. After a little cruise ‘round the sights, we clambered back aboard the boat and headed towards our afternoon swim starting from north of the Baths on Virgin Gorda.
  
Fun on the beach. Walt, please try to have a good time. Swimming through the boulders.
We slathered on the sunscreen and jumped off the boat heading for the Baths. The surge was strong but we managed to weave our way in and among the huge granite boulders. Trudi, in particular, mastered the timing of the waves and soared over the sunken boulders covered in brain and fire coral. We chased fish, dodged rocks and avoided barnacles, all while timing the surf to swim among the massive rocks of the baths. Our own gauntlet reminiscent of the pirate days of yore.
Soon, we were back aboard the Promenade and cleaned up, ready for dinner. We started with a couple of perfect pitchers of pina coladas and then another fine showing by Lindsey and Kerry in the food department with some mahi mahi, salad, steamed veggies, and homemade key lime pie for dessert.
 
Kerry’s superb pina coladas do everyone just fine.
Some of the guests started to put themselves to bed as an impromptu dance party developed up on the deck, but whether we danced or slept, we’re all ready for an amazing morning exploring the grottos of the Baths tomorrow.
– Elaine
PS. As usual, Great Harbour does not disappoint. Today it offered up a foraging spotted eagle ray, a turtle and the most clear, vivid and indescribably blue water I have ever seen here. And yes, another spectacular sunset at the Baths. Thanks, BVI. – Heather

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