Shiver me Timbers Captain Morgan!
Well, Shiver me timbers and wash it down with a grog of rum and ale. My
adventure at this years Gasparilla Invasion sendoff will remain a huge memory
for me even after the old age and creaking bones take their toll on me. I was a
lucky contestant winner from my favorite rock station, 97X, to board and watch
the Invasion on the Captain Morgans’ flotilla.
It was a fine party boat filled with the likes of pirates and cute ladies,
and a few scalawags for good measures. Everything started out simple and quite
tranquil in the A.M. The boaters’ en mass had not gotten up yet, or gotten into
position near the Platt Street bridge when we took off from the dock at 9 A.M.
The Captain had furnished us with a “what ya want” omelette breakfast and a
nice addition fo beverages before our open seas adventures began. The Captain
greeted us on the dock and gave all the lucky souls a bag of booty to have fun
with during and after our faithful cruise. I have to admit, only the bandanna
made it home with me that day. My pirate hat and few hundred medallions were
heaved at the masses that day. the boat station right in front of us housed the
wild Krewe known as the Krewe of the Sainti Yago They had a killer DJ and the beverage of
choice, even at 8 A.M. was a slightly chilled Bud and a rum-soaked cigar. These
guys were getting primed and ready for a long day of throwing beads, coins and
anything else they could find at the parade watchers from Bayshore to the
hallows of downtown.
About an hour later, we were stationed by the mouth of the point and the
bevy of boats had begun to converge on us for our precious medallions and
T-shirts. Little did they know, that we were armed with water guns, balloons and
a few well placed slingshots to deliver a barrage of water, medallions and fabric
to the lucky ones to venture close to our vessel.
I had one encounter that I am truly sorry for here. I had a huge water
balloon set in my slingshot and shot it towards a boatload of woman who were,
well showing some assets, and I caught the video camera operator right in the
face as she lower the camera. I asked the captain of that vessel to come closer
and I gave her a few T-shirts and medallions for the galliant effort. Now, that
was not the first set of “assets” to be shown, imagined or filmed that day. I
can attest to being a bit befuttled for a few second when a boatload of 20 woman
did a shirt salute to our vessel that made the Captain glad to be an American.
We were using the water cannons ans slingshots to get our fellow Krewes wet
and ready for the upcoming day. It was a blast that I will never forget. It will
be a true memory that I will cherish in my old age and beyond. I got to use my
good arm to sling a few hundred medallons, and I still have really good aim. I had the pleasure of meeting my local Morning show host, Fisher that day,
and he was a great guy to talk to about the Rays, and to show how to use the
slingshot to his advantage. He was a gracious host with the Captain. He had a
event the night before at a local bowling hall, Splitsville, that probably did
not end early, or too late for him and his crew.
I know the Captain provided us with lunch, but I was having too good of a
time drinking my new favorite rum, “Captain Morgan’s Tattoo”, and watching the
festivities from my high perch. The sights and sound of the Invasion are
incredible, ans worth all the early effort and planning to get out there and ride
in with the Mystic Krewe
We were lucky enough to be only a few boats back of the main boat and had a
thrilling time just waving and throwing beads to the boats slowly cruising up
the shipping channel with the vessels. As we neared the Harbor Island area again, the scene was a bit different this
time. Where at 9 A.M. I could swing an anchor around and only hit air, now was a
zoo of beer and babes wanting our beads and medallions.
I know now how the Krewes feel on those boats and parade floats seeing the
masses and masses of people all day long until you finally see the end and just
faint from the excitement and.maybe a few well timed beverages during the trip.
We were slowly getting to the dock again that was vacant when we shoved off, but
now held hundreds of souls waiting anything we could throw to them.
I got carried away and threw my bandanna to a cute multi-colored haired wench who put it
right on her head and paraded around the dock with it. We threw cups, hats,
bandannas’, and the occasional Captain Morgan’s medallions to the masses wanting
everything we had that day. We got off the boat to a hero’s welcome and I rambled out into the day
looking for a great place to catch a few hundred beads. I picked a spot near the
end of the parade route and made sure to have my Captain Morgan’s shirt on, and
a Captain Morgans banner that I ” borrowed” from the boat.
I had a ball getting beads for the kids around me, and the
“Rays” floats pelted me with bags of beads that I threw to the kids and older
kids( like me) around my parade area. I was feeling like a true spirit that day.
Having the time of my life and wishing someone else was there with me the entire
time. She had to stay home that day and watch the kids, but she was with me in
spirit the entire time.
Well, maybe not while I was watching the many “assets” being shown that
day………just kidding. I was feeling great and started to walk back to the
98Rock stage to see the AC/DC cover band when the brunette I threw the hat at
gave me a 6-pack of really good beer( my favorite), and told me I had made her
day by throwing the hat to her. I enjoyed the thought of making a great memory for someone else, and I am
planning on again being a member of the Captains’ crew, if fate deems it for me.
It was a great day.
I got a few hundred beads and met a lot of great new friends and hopefully
future revelers in the Captains good times.
If you ever get the chance to sit by the waterside, or get on a friends’ boat
and hit the Bay for the Gasparilla Invasion, you should run with it. It is an adventure you will not regret, and it will
give you stories for years and years about all the great times on the water that
day. So, mark you calendar for the event in 2009.
The Superbowl will be in Tampa next year, and I guess the Invasion will take
place the day before the big event to make it a weekend to remember for all of
us, and the NFL visitors. I have to go now to the local rum shop and look for my
favorite “tattoo.” It left a true mark on my taste buds. Arggggggggggggggggggg!