Sunday, March 9, 2008

What to do when you're the captain of a 14 man boat and you fall overboard during Vogalonga

photos by Nereo Zane

You’ve been captaining a 14-man “quattordesona” down the Grand Canal during the Vogalonga.
For reasons that you’d rather not share, you end up falling off the back of the boat, “spontaneously baptized” in the Canalazzo.
Now you’ve got numerous boats rowing your way, and thirteen members of your club, laughing at you from the boat you were just on.
What do you do?
First of all, it’s important to swing your arms as you swim back to the boat. Sure, you need to get back to the boat, but you’ve got to make sure those other boats see you – so swing those arms.
Because you’re a Venetian, make sure you look good while doing it. Think “bella figura” here.
As with most potentially embarrassing situations, if you just act like things are normal, maybe you’ll fool a few people into thinking that “you meant to do that”.

Second, keep that mouth shut. Don’t allow yourself to sample the waters of the Grand Canal. You may be tempted, but trust me, it’s not worth it. I tried it once during a similar baptism, and it tasted a lot less “fresh” than I’d imagined. Oh, and while you’re swimming towards that boat, which is full of fellow club members laughing and making clever remarks – take notice of the ones who are laughing the loudest, and those who are wisecracking the most – these are the guys you’ll want to “baptize” later when the opportunity presents itself.

As you approach the boat, make sure that darn photographer doesn’t take a picture when you’re hanging on the edge of the boat, trying to get in. You know the shot: your butt’s in the air with your pants hanging down – giving the world a view of your potential as a plumber, your belly is hanging into the bilge, and two or three guys are trying to drag you in as you think to yourself “I never realized how hard it is to get back into a boat while fully clothed”.

Once on board, get yourself back into position, remove your shirt, take it all in stride, and look down at those thirteen guys who have been laughing at you. Give ‘em a big smile and laugh. Laugh, because the whole thing really was hilarious, and you certainly would have laughed if it were one of them. Turn your attention to the other boats and pedestrians who have been watching the whole thing…and give them a nice bow.
Next, tell those thirteen guys to “quit standing around, the show’s over, now get back to work!”


Anonymous said...

Hi Greg- Pretty amazing, falling into the canal! I was there in mid Feb and the water was cold!

This brings me to the reason to write to you. I am an impoter of Limoncello (lemon liqueur) from the Amalfi coast.
In mid Feb I was at the Massimilano Schiavon glass gallery in Murano, Venice, and was talking to Bepi- I think the same Bepi as was on the Sept 2007 gondola crew, down the Hudson River for the 9/11 rowing event. I told him we wanted to donate many cases of Limoncello to a fund-raising event in New York, for Oct 2008, honoring 9/11 families and survivors. He gave me the contact email of Vincent Tummino (Int'l Columbia Assn) to contact. Traveling to Amalfi, I lost my file, including Vincent Tummino's contact info. I have tried to reach Bepi in Venice, Italy, unsucessfully several times.

Do you have any contact info for Mr. Tummino, or anyone who was part of the 2007 N.Y.C.-Hudson River-Columbus Day event? Thanks! Charles Simmons
email: (520) 331-8338 in Tucson, Arizona

DG Beat said...

That's a great sequence. How did you get all those photos? Were you part of the crew? Or was that a zoom lens?

Gondola Greg said...

The credit for these photos goes to Nereo Zane, who has an amazing knack for getting on boats (that he doesn't have to row) with his camera. Nereo was on the 14-man Mestrina when he shot these. He's one of my favorite photographers - his images are all over this blog.