Monday, May 19, 2008

Two New Sunset Gondolas - Making History and Getting Wet

photos by Joanna Herrera

So, among other things, history was made today.
For the first time since the early 1900's, Venice-built gondolas graced the waters of Alamitos Bay. This is no slight to the current company operating there, they have two Venice-built boats of their own (a sandolo and a pupparino), and there are a lot of great guys rowing there,
but the last photographic evidence of Venetian gondolas in Naples was around 1910.
Tim Reinard (poppa) and Kelly Armstrong (prova) rowing a Venetian gondola through Alamitos Bay.
Kelly Armstrong rows prova.
Tim Reinard gives his best "you want a piece of me?" look.
Two gondolas docking in Naples.
Me, laughing hysterically. I don't even remember what it was that Tyson said, but it must have been funny, 'cause I almost got a hernia from laughing.
Tyson, Sean and me, rowing towards the breakwater.

The perfect rowing adventure continued through Alamitos Bay.
Once, while outside the breakwater, we took about fifty gallons of seawater over the rail, and found ourselves in one of those true "sink or swim" situations.
As Sean and I went nuts with the buckets, and Tyson traded back and forth between baling with the sessola and keeping the boat steady with the remo, we learned a thing or two about the discipline of "keeping more water on the outside of the hull, than on the inside".

Waves were rolling in, we did our best to stabilize the gondola, baling while balancing, we pressed-on and brought her back on top of the surface. As the wind was about to put us on the rocks, we began rowing again - first out to sea about fifty yards, and then turning in to enter the breakwater of Huntington Harbor. The experience at sea was exhilarating. It tested our resolve, and steeled our determination. Sure, I would have rather kept my socks dry, but the satisfaction of "fixing the problem with buckets and oars" was worth it.
It was a true adventure - the type you talk about for years.

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