Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Richard took the time to show off all the different vessels there and tell some interesting stories about the origins of each boat.
A sailing component is part of the operation there; Richard introduced us to the concept of "jousting" - small sailboat style.
I must confess that I'm not much of a sailor and have yet to try this type of "jousting", but as I understand it, you get your boats out on the water and take runs at each other with one guy on the bow of each boat holding a pole with a boxing glove on the end of it.
Really, how could that not be fun?
The guy with the joust also gets to carry a shield of sorts. It's not quite like the one Sir Lancelot might have brandished, but it'll do alright against a boxing glove.
it was a lot of fun and I can see how much more exciting it can be with sailboats.
Monday, September 27, 2010
This one seems to be "off for siesta".
I guess even traghetto boats need rest now and then.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Vincent Tummino and some of his FDNY brothers were in Venice again, rowing, eating, and doing everything else you'd want to do in la Serenissima.
The above photo shows them on a caorlina with none other than Bepi Suste rowing a poppa.
More photos are available for viewing on Nere's blog.
To catch up on who Vincent is, take a look at my post entitled "Images of the Expedition - Vinny and Vittorio After the Parade".
This is not his first trip to Venice with firefighters - you can read about an earlier visit on my post "Rowing Monks and Firemen".
Friday, September 24, 2010
A few bridges span this waterway, which is a thoroughfare for all sorts of boat types.
In the photos posted here, we see the white "Ponte del Prefetto", and behind it (bordering the Grand Canal) is a green iron bridge known as the "Ponte Santa Chiara". Both bridges connect the Fondamenta Cossetti on the Piazzale Roma side, with the Fondamenta Papadopoli which flanks the Giardini Papadopoli.
Like all the canals in Venice, there are gondolas traversing the Rio Nuovo, but it also sees a heavy flow of water taxi and cargo vessel traffic.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Today marked the first official day of the season that bridges summer and winter. I know some parts of the country are seeing signs of the changing season, but here in Southern California, I'm happy right now to settle for stepping on the few crunchy leaves while enjoying the changing colors of the ones still hanging onto their branches. In cities further north, my colleagues are preparing for winter haulouts - thinking about the work that needs to be done on their boats, and wondering how they'll maintain their sanity without a boat to row until spring. No doubt, some gondola operations are finishing off their year with "fall color tours" - with passengers enjoying the cool air and orange leaves almost as much as their gondoliers.
Welcome to fall my friends.
Send me your best fall color gondola photos - I'd love to post them here.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
According to Jack Noyes at NBC Los Angeles:
"A “super” harvest moon, won’t happen again until 2029.
Farmers named the harvest moon —a full moon near the time of fall equinox — in the days before electric lights. Farmers used the harvest moon to spend more time gathering crops.
Typically the harvest moon comes within days or weeks of the equinox. But this year the moon hits its maximum brightness six hours after the equinox, which is at 8:10 p.m., said Griffith Observatory Curator Laura Danly.
The full moon is at its brightest at 2:17 a.m."
I must admit that I wasn't aware of this phenomenon until I was out on the water and a friend called and left a voice mail on my phone.
If you're reading this now having not seen the moon, you may have already missed it, but if you were out on a gondola tonight too, then you saw it and know what I'm talking about.
To read more about the phenomenon, take a look at things from NASA's perspective - it's worth a read.
And as is often the case, the transition from day to night yeilded a brilliantly colored sky.
I love the view from the back of a gondola.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
Some gondoliers in Venice rarely need to worry about bridge clearance, while others operate regularly in canals where it's a daily concern.
Tamás snapped this shot while visiting Venice for the most recent Regata Storica.
I've seen a few different versions of this piece of hardware.
I posted some photos of one some time ago entitled "The Fold-Down Lama", which features another one with clasps to hold it in place.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
A group shot is also a great way to keep track of who was there. In fact I'm told that some people have been known to print out my group shots and post them on their walls - I'm honored to know someone would give my photos a place of honor like that.
So here's a special collector's edition of the group shot.
I had everyone line up semi-Madness style so it's easier to tell who was there.
As you can see, different people reveal their various personalities when the camera shutter snaps. Peter Dever deserves special mention here for his inventive style of pants-wearing. Yes, I can think of a few walls that this photo would look great on.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Snoopy went for a ride on Bella Mae, and later in the day, I won a brand new bicycle, as part of a Met Life and Bicycling Magazines bike give away!
I'll be pumping much less gas into my Fit... Yay!!
Thanks Robert, Snoopy was always my favorite.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Just before everyone piled into the gondolas and rowed off into the night, I caught up with Andrew and his guitar one more time as he was about to play something interesting.
If you enjoyed this clip, I highly recommend listening to Andrew sing the "Gondolier's Song" from the previous event back in June of 2010.
Like this clip, the recording was spontaneous and free-flowing, but the results were awesome.
Nereo has just posted some more dynamic photos from Regata Storica.
The one above is among my favorites.
This year saw much drama on the water, including some great side-by-side race action.
Check out the new photos on the September 17th page.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
a boring conversation is almost impossible.
As the big hand of the clock swung around, more friends arrived. The sun gave it's last rays and and the Earth spun us into night.
Here's a quick sweep with my video camera, taken as the evening developed:
Another video sweep:
Nico showed up a while later and picked up his guitar to play.
As gondoliers in Southern California, we love the job.
Rowing a boat out into a protected waterway on a beautiful evening is great. Seeing couples out to celebrate or get engaged is awesome.
Almost all gondoliers enjoy such things.
But the benefit to being in this corner of the world,
is that we get to hang out from time to time.
And with nine companies in this half of the state,
there are a lot of guys out there to hang out with.
Andrew finally picked up that guitar and plucked out this little gem as we were gathering for the group photo.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
We had a nice showing tonight. It wasn't the largest attendance to date, but well worth showing up for. Initially there were only a few of us, and this post is dedicated to that first remnant who showed up early (well, actually we came after the start time, but before everyone else).
It seems that Catherine was the only one who bothered to smile for the shot, but she looked good enough to make up for the rest of us.
of course a get-together at Sunset Gondola wouldn't be complete without music. Andrew showed up carrying a tiny black instrument case, which ended up concealing a small but impressive little ukelele. Most of what Andrew does musically involves a guitar, but this little song was a rare treat for those of us who were there to see and hear it.
Of course there's more to come in future posts.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
The truth is that I was just walking by it one day on my way from the GSVVM to the hoist, and took the shot.
It looks like this may be a long-term cover for out of water storage, maybe even a winter cover.
The orange tarp material appears to be waterproof. It also seems to have been customized a bit to guarantee fit - not a bad idea considering the one-two-punch of wind and rain which do such a great job of keeping us on our toes during storm season.
I especially appreciate the bright orange color.
It's easy to keep track of and hard to miss.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Here are a pair of photos taken in the shop of remer Saverio Pastor.
We see the "wall of remi" on one side, with dozens of oars - each with it's own unique story to tell. To the right we see one of the most important modern tools in the trade: a bandsaw. Notice the duct-hoses attached to it in order to keep dust to a minimum. The back wall displays a multitude of patterns, which are used in the crafting of forcole of all different types.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
As an American I have great reverence for those who "gave all" on September 11th. Three years ago, when I had the honor of joining some of the best in the world to row in tribute, and met and spoke with so many who could literally see the events of 9-11 from their homes - it became all-the-more real to me.
I think we all died a little that day.
Let us never forget.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
As I expected, Nereo Zane's photos are starting to show up on his blog.
Here's one I snagged to use as a teaser.
To see more, go to his blog.
Images from the "maciarele" regata offer a unique view into the future of Venetian rowing.
These are the "little fish" (rough translation of maciarele), in english we might call them the "small fry". Click here to connect to the maciarele post.
Before anyone does any racing, there is the processsion, or the parade portion of the day.
Click here to see some snaps of that spectacle.
Thanks Nereo, for some great views.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Monday, September 6, 2010
There is one piece of news I'd like to share here though:
Luigina Davanzo and Vally Zanella (members of the GSVVM) rowed in a violet boat in the mascareta race, winning the bandiera blu (blue flag) and making all of us GSVVM members proud with a strong fourth place finish.
Be sure to check out Nere's blog and leave him some great comments.
I saw something familiar: men in orange. Four members of the GSVVM were plying their way through salty lagoon water at the head of the Grand Canal. These were friends of mine; some I'd had the pleasure of rowing with.
The club has more than one orange sandolo, so I could be wrong here, but I think I may have rowed that same boat in my Vogalonga adventure of 2009.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
If you get a satellite feed of RAI TV, you might be able to catch it, various webcams in Venice offer glimpses of it - try for instance, the one at Locanda Sturion.
The image above is from the post "Regata Storica - Webcam Images and RAI". And while most webcams only provide periodic snaps - it's still neat to see things unfold on one of the biggest days of the year in La Serenissima.
Then again, if you are one of the lucky souls who get to experience it first-hand, please send photos or video.
For a good idea of the visuals on the big day, search "Regata Storica" here on the Gondola Blog - Nereo Zane has provided some amazing photos of both the parade and the races in years past.
Saturday, September 4, 2010
In some places it's imperative; either to keep moisture out or protect the decks from the sun's destructive UV rays.
Even if you operate in the most ideal place, you may still find some kind of cover necessary.
Covers can keep dust and debris from blowing into the boat.
Spiders are less likely to crawl in and set up shop.
If a boat is covered it may discourage passersby from nosing around - knowing they'll have to go to more trouble to do so.
A good cover also helps keep birds from pooping on, and cats from peeing in the gondola.
I've seen some pretty impressive variations on the gondola cover theme, and this one ranks high on the list.
Most gondola covers are meant for quick and easy removal (even though they are often just tied to one side), but the owner of this gondola appears to have long-term storage in mind.
For daily use, this would not be my first choice, but it would be great if I had to leave my boat unattended for long periods.