Swim the Sound
A swimmer emerges from the water after competing. (Photo: ANIKA CHRISTOPHER)

Patlian Johnson had long wanted to take part in the annual Swim and SUP the Sound race in Virgin Gorda’s North Sound.

On Sunday, she finally made it happen.

“It was on my bucket list, so I’m glad I was able to tick that off,” said Ms. Johnson, who competed in the one-mile swim. “It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.”

She was among about 60 people who competed in the annual event, which is organised as a fundraiser by Virgin Islands Search and Rescue.

“This event is one of what has become our three annual signature fundraisers,” said VISAR Operations Manager Phil Aspinall, adding that the other two are the Governor’s Gourmet Gathering and the holiday ice rink at the Cyril B. Romney Tortola Pier Park.

Funds raised this year, he said, will go toward purchasing a new rescue boat for Tortola, which will cost about $450,000.

“These boats are purpose built to our specifications based on the 30-plus years of experience of operating in the BVI,” he added.

A swimmer collects his medal. (Photo: ANIKA CHRISTOPHER)
The courses

On Sunday, various courses were set up between The Bitter End Yacht Club and Leverick Bay Resort and Marina. They included half-mile, one-mile and two-mile swim courses and a 2.5-mile stand-up paddleboard course.

Simon Hiemstra participated in the paddleboard race.

“It was quite tough,” he said. “The middle part was especially difficult, but by the end it was quite relaxing.”

Preparation, he added, was essential.

“On Sunday morning, I’d go paddleboarding in Cane Garden Bay,” he said.

As part of the $100 entry fee, participants each received round-trip transportation from Road Town to Leverick Bay, a BBQ lunch, a goodie bag, and a participation medal.

The event also included a family fun day with children’s activities ranging from arts-and-crafts projects to games at the beach and pool.

Training drill

VISAR also hosted a drill where recently trained cadets demonstrated how they would respond to a young man who had fallen on rocks and injured his leg.

“The focus was to highlight the cadets that we are grooming and training to be the future crew responders,” Ms. Aspinall said. “These kids are all of high school age and, as you saw, all are confident and skilled and did not need any supervision from arrival at the scene to having the casualty on the boat for evac.”