Saturday, November 14. 2009
What a day.
What a day.
We woke up in Great Harbour, Peter Island. I remembered that this was one of my favorite spots on last yearís SwimVacation. This trip, it did not disappoint. Not a bit.
After all of our miles in big swells, we were rewarded - very little surge, and a lovely rainbow as we dove in. We planned a swim hugging the shore of the harbor - about one and a half miles. I lead the pack.
First, a stingray. Our first of the trip. A lovely calm swim over beautiful reef nursery habitat - lots of little juvenile fish species, sea anemones, flamingo tongues, on and on. We rounded the corner and hit a spectacular patch of reef. Filled with schools of silver sides and huge tarpon in to feed. Pelicans diving all around us. An aquarium.
Then, out in front, I saw it. I could not believe my eyes.
A Manta Ray.
Not a sting ray, not an eagle ray. A bonafide Manta Ray. A Manta holy-moley ray. A manta ray, people. If you know anything about marine life in the Caribbean, you now have your jaw on the floor. Yup, a once in a life time sighting.
I picked up my head, nearly breathless. The nearest swimmer to me was Chris, who was suddenly right next to it. He had a good close up experience with it. Then came Keith, who caught a glimpse. Sadly, the beautiful creature swam away from us before the rest of our team caught up. But we were all ecstatic for the experience.
Barely recovered from this remarkably rare event, we continued our swim to the in water play ground in Great Harbor. A huge inflatable ice burg to climb, and a water trampoline which we managed to climb up on. We literally jumped with joy after such a magnificent swim. So much fun.
After our play time, it was time to head back to the Promenade, which was about 1/2 a mile across the harbor. The swell had picked up, and we had a rough swim back, but the whole experience was well worth the effort.
We did some underwater video taping for tonightís stroke clinic, and then had a hearty pancake breakfast. We had a magnificent sail under the Promenadeís red and white spinnaker and landed at the Indians, where we snorkeled and played and did some more video taping.
Weíre being dogged by an impending weather system, and in order to stay ahead of it and get in all of our special SwimVacation traditions, we moved to Norman Island to do our Willy Tís swim, which we normally save for the last night.
FIrst, we hit the beach, where Will did a beach start and finish clinic. We practiced our race starts and finishes to a slightly inebriated and amused audience of beach loungers. After our last start, we made the 1/2 mile swim to Willy Tís floating bar, where deck hand and dinghy queen Christy met us with our clothes. We enjoyed our cocktail hour there, and are now back on the Promenade for dinner. Tonight weíll have a look at our underwater videos of stroke and WIll will give us the run-down on our technique.
A full day. A phenomenal day. Itís SwimVacation. Itís the BVIs.
It was a Manta Ray.
Swim open water indeed
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