Friday, October 19, 2018


photos by Candace Benson

She was built in Venice in 1960.
Her squero is believed to be the famous Tramontin family shop.

While under construction, her decks were carved by the legendary intagliador known as "Il Santo" - who depicted allegorical characters in his carvings.

After only about four years of passenger service in Venice, she was discovered by Newport Beach resident Janet Curci while on her honeymoon.
She purchased the gondola from gondolier Giovanni Gianni, 

and arranged transportation to California.  
She went into a shipping container in Venezia, 
crossed oceans in a metal box, 
which was hoisted onto the back of a truck.
The next time she saw sunlight was here in Newport Beach.
She was lowered into Pacific water, 
and has remained in Newport Harbor since 1964. 

Once in Newport, the Curci family re-christened her "Lucia" - after Janet's mother, and the name has been displayed on a brass plate on the bow since then.

The most distinguishing feature of the Lucia is her canopy.

She is the only Venice-built gondola in North America with a felze-di-tela canopy, which can be a challenge in the wind, but experienced gondoliers welcome it.

That canopy is removable, and these photos were taken of a cruise when the canopy was off.

Asymmetry, as seen from the stern.

Il Santo's carvings on the bow.

Just another magic moment.

Lucia sans canopy.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

A perfect Fall Evening

All the gondoliers on the dock tonight agreed that tonight 
was the perfect evening as far as conditions go.  
One guy called it "the best night of the fall".
Here's a shot of Jonah heading in to dock 
after an amazing time on the water.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Kiss the Girl

photo by Isabella Mohr

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Strike a Pose

photo by Mitchell Lucky

Gondolier Evan Kliewer strikes a pose while rowing a cruise in Newport Beach.

Monday, October 15, 2018


photo by Kalev Pallares

Gondolier Hunter Mitchell is a funny guy.
He's an excellent rower, and an even better singer.
But he's also got a talent for humor on the back of a gondola.

Previously I posted "Photo-Bomb Win!"
Here's another winner.
I'm calling it "Facepalm!"
In this case the passengers were cropped out, 
but this was taken during a cruise.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Beginning a Memory

As I mentioned in a previous post,
We are in the business of creating "Perfect Moments".
Those moments become treasured memories,
and they all start when the gondola leaves the dock.
Tonight I took this photo of Kyle as he headed out with happy passengers, as their memory-making was just beginning.

Friday, October 12, 2018


I first caught a whiff of it as I was crossing from one side of the Newport Boulevard bridge to the other. 
Somewhere between dodging cars and trying not to trip over the median, 
I smelled it: the aroma that emerges as soon as raindrops hit dry ground.

It's called "petrichor" - a combination of two Greek words.
Petra means "stone", 

ichor is the fluid that flows through the veins of the gods.

I know this simply because I love the smell so much that I had to look it up.
Of course I was thrilled to discover that it had a cool name like "petrichor".
Turns out that while it may be rooted in Greek language and mythology, 
it was actually coined in 1964 by two Australians.

The Australians have given us many great things:
Hugh Jackman, the Bee Gees, Kylie Minogue, 
the Mad Max films, Vegemite (ok, maybe not Vegemite), 
but I'm throwing petrichor on the list now.
You read it here first.

So, where was I?
Oh yes, I was dodging traffic on the bridge.

Why was I up there?
To take some snaps of gondolas here in Newport on an evening where the clouds were beginning to look increasingly, shall we say...unfriendly.

A few raindrops had come down - enough for the above mentioned aroma to present itself - but it didn't really rain for another thirty minutes.

From up on the bridge I watched Mike Olsen heading home 
and Evan Kliewer rowing in my direction. 

 Mike heads home.

Evan begins his cruise.

gondolier greeting on the water.

After scampering across six lanes of traffic, I was rewarded with a nice down-shot of Evan's gondola as he emerged from under the bridge.
 Mmmm. Looks like a dinner-cruise.

 There are so many great angles to appreciate a gondola from.
This is one of my personal favorites.

Rowing off into the canals in the west end of Newport,
under increasingly darkened skies.

Thursday, October 11, 2018


Simon, Jonah, and I had the pleasure of rowing a three-boat-flotilla this evening with a great group of passengers.

 Look at us.
We could sell ice cream in those outfits!

 Out on the water, I snapped a shot as Kyle cruised through our group.

 Here's a close-up of Simon and Jonah alongside each other.

We rowed as a group for a half-hour and then turned around to head home.
With the breeze at our back, we brought the gondolas rail-to-rail.
Each of us rowed with one foot on another boat, 
and we glided along - rafted together.

After an hour of rowing in tight formation, 
we dropped our passengers off at a restaurant and headed into dock.

 Simon's silhouette.

Jonah bringing it home.

I love rowing flotillas.
We get to entertain a group of people, 
take turns singing,
and it's so fun to raft-up with all the neighbors looking and waving.
Can't wait to do it again.