Friday, July 14, 2017

Always Alaskan

As I write this, and summer is getting into full swing here in
Southern California, The sun is also shining on Alaska.
In fact this time of year, it shines a lot up there.

Two of my favorite gondoliers are currently working on a fishing boat in Alaskan waters, enjoying the Midnight Sun, and having the kinds of adventures that young men dream of.
Jakob Easton lived in Alaska for many years, while Hunter Mitchell is experiencing the 49th state for the first time.

But when the season winds down, they will return to Newport,
and begin training for this year's US Gondola Nationals.

If you've ever lived in Alaska, you know that no matter how long ago you lived there, it'll always be in your blood.
I lived in Nome, Alaska in my twenties,
and even now, a piece of my heart is still up there.

The other day I was watching a show about a woman who lives in Alaska,
far north of the Arctic Circle, and her motto stuck with me:
"If it hurts, don't think about it."
- Sue Aikens

If ever there were a perfect quote for arctic survival - that's the one.
Rest assured, that this October, as we set out on the water to compete with our esteemed rowing colleagues at Nationals, I will be shouting that little piece of wisdom from Sue Aikens.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Simon Drops the Bottle

photos by Kalev Pallares
Here's a fun sequence of Simon Atkins dropping a message-in-a-bottle
in the water for one of his passengers to retrieve...moments before a
marriage proposal takes place.

He drops it!
Makes sure she didn't hear the splash,
Rows off a few strokes,
 And then nervously checks to see if it's still there!

A minute later the bottle was fetched,
the question was popped,
and she said "yes", of course.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Gondolas Spotted in Boston

photo by Kathleen Gonzalez
Our friend Kathleen Gonzalez, who wrote the book "Free Gondola Ride",
hosts a great blog called "Seductive Venice" - which covers topics on
Casanova, Venice, and all things Venetian.
She was recently in Boston and saw the gondolas there.
Take a look at her post "Not Just in Venice Anymore...".

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy Fourth

Happy Fourth of July from the Gondola Blog.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Two Guys Go to Tahoe

photos by Eddie Rivera
Eddie Rivera and Kyle Wolting of The Gondola Company of Newport
decided to drop in on Drew Ste. Marie at his servizio on the
blue waters of Lake Tahoe today.
They sent me some photos, which have left me profoundly jealous.
In the above photo, we see Kyle rowing on the Venice-built gondola
known as "Giallo".
Eddie snapped the photo while rowing "Theresa".
Both gondoliers were heading out of the jetty at the Tahoe Keys Marina.
And here we see Eddie at the dock with signage and boats in the background.
 At one time this gondola was painted yellow, and in serious disrepair,
until a friend of mine worked his magic and brought her back to life. 
The passengers seem happy too.
And here they are:
Kyle on the left, Eddie on the right, and Drew in the middle.

To learn more about the Lake Tahoe gondola operation, check out

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Twenty-Two Degrees from Above

A while back I posted a head-on shot of this same gondola
and called it "Twenty-Two Degrees to Port".

Since I rarely come upon an angle of the gondola that I haven't seen a thousand times, that photo really captured my attention.

As I went through the other images from that day, I discovered this shot.
The boat is still leaning to port at twenty-two degrees,
but this view is from a somewhat higher vantage point.

Like a fine wine, or a mysterious woman - you can spend years, decades, even a lifetime obsessing over her - looking at this remarkable boat.
She is beauty, she is grace, and she has captured the heart of nearly every man who has ever rowed her. 
And yet she has issues, baggage, and imperfection in the form of asymmetry.

Is she perfect?
Can you stop thinking about her?
Didn't think so.

I'm convinced that for as long as man inhabits this earth,
he will never build another boat that matches our beloved gondola.
She is the genuine article, and all of her contemporaries will be measured against her - never to measure up.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Gondolas in Prague

photos by Mark Mohr

You never know where you might see gondolas.
These two were photographed last week by my brother when he was in Prague.

I've heard from my friends at the GSVVM rowing club that they've seen this operation when they brought some of their club boats to the city of Prague.
Here are a few interesting links on the servizio:

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Summer Nights

The seasons can sometimes sneak up on you.
Days go by, and suddenly you realize that a new season is upon you.
That's how I feel about summer - which has certainly made it's presence known lately.