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Surrender.

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David crosses Salt Bay with Promenade in the distance.

Salt Island is a favorite of Promenade. Salt Bay happens to be Kerry’s favorite haunt, and it’s true this shallow bay always has something interesting to toss into the ring. Amazing soft colors underwater, crazy wildlife we don’t often see elsewhere. Three times I was courted by two gigantic remora here. Once I let Kerry drag me around behind a big boat on a crazy goose chase for treasure that didn’t exist. Each of these times, it was clear to me that the sea is always in charge. This body of water may be the greatest force on earth, and when we approach, we should do so with a plan to immerse and become part of it, rather than work against and conquer. Salt Island is a place where this lesson is clear.

_HPP9873Our first swim of the day was from Promenade to Salt’s Sphinx-like Manhead point, around the inside of the bay, around the corner to the Wreck of the Rhone. This wreck is a real bonafide ship wreck – not some tug boat sunk to make an artificial reef. Way back in 1867, the captain of this brand new steam ship tried to guess on a coming storm, out-wit the sea, and lost his life (and the lives of 138 souls) when the sea tossed them like a pile of twigs, steam engines exploding on the rocks. Water is always boss.

Our swimmers snorkeled and explored parts of the wreck at the end of our swim. We found a swirling school of fish, a great barracuda and some squid to boot. All creatures that know nothing of steam engines and snapped anchor chains, but know how to go with the flow of the sea.

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Jumping in at Salt. Alison is at home in the water, and I found her playing in the shallows today. Our swimmers hover above the Wreck of the Rhone.

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Alison and Ken play amid a swirling school of fish.

We climbed back aboard and made our way east to the Baths at Virgin Gorda. Here great boulders of granite have been pushed and shoved and worn away by a turquoise sea. Standing strong, but letting the water have its way. We swam to shore and walked the path through the rocks, stopping for portraits, looking up. Giant boulders, tossed like marbles, stacked like they’re nothing at all. It’s humbling.

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Martin, Janine, Michael & Carrie.

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Robin, Heather, Mama to be (again!) Alison.

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Dave being a dork, Alison & Ken being adorable, Guides pal-ing around.

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Robin leaps in for our swim through the boulders of Virgin Gorda.

One of our favorite swims on SwimVacation is heading north along the shore from the Baths. We swim through the boulders, checking out cracks and crevices, making a new decision each time about whether or not we can get through. The factors are surge and swell and height of tide. Also courage and faith and trust. Once you decide to swim between two boulders, it’s a commitment. You have to let go. Yield to the flow and trust that the water wants to move through these rocks, not into them. If you surrender to it, you get the ride of your life. And I am amazed time and time again how, with this yielding, I slip effortlessly through tiny gaps. I spill easily over smooth rocks into pools full of bubbles and froth. I never scrape up against a rock. I hold my breath and watch the play of light in air bubbles grabbed by rushing water. Fish swim just below me, also riding the tide. I watch them and see that this is something they’ve always known. You don’t fight water, you become part of it.

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Janine spills out from a narrow crevice. She’s all smiles.

Our course through the boulders spits us out at my favorite beach in the world. Perfect white sand. Palm trees that couldn’t have been place more perfectly by a movie set designer. A few strewn rocks on the beach, begging for a group portrait. We play here for a bit, and no one wants to leave.

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I feel like I was born knowing that the sea wants me. That when I surrender to the flow, I have my best experiences. The water is totally supportive. All you have to do is let it do its thing. By the end of day 3 of this fantastic trip, I think our swimmers are all starting to feel it and let go. I can see it in the way they cruised through the rocks today, no fears, no worries, just smiles and trust that they’d wind up on the other side, better for the ride.

Tonight, we’re anchored off of Mountain Point, Virgin Gorda. We all stopped what we were doing to appreciate the setting sun near distant Seal Dog island. After dinner, Dave will review everyone’s stroke videos. He’ll find ways we can all be more efficient in the water, and surrender to the sea’s will just a little more.

– Heather

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PS. Enjoy today’s BCPD:

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Stella cat looks on as Carrie and Michael steal a kiss on the bow. No telling what she thinks about that.

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