Saturday, December 31, 2011

Best and Favorite Posts of 2011 - part 2

Continuing on with some of my favorites of 2011 here on the Gondola Blog, some choices are hard to make.  We've seen lots of different views of several regatas, but I've gotta go with my heart on this one.

Favorite regata:
"Regata Maciarele".
Watching scrappy club races is exciting, witnessing the "best of the best" duke it out with all of the Veneto watching from the windows and shores of the Grand Canal - amazing.  Even the casual for-fun regatas can be great fun to watch, but the seed that it all grows from is what tugs most at my heart.
The "Little Fish" are coached masterfully by Bepi Suste, and photographed equally as well by Nereo Zane.

Best image of a traghetto:
"Traghetto in Winter" by Chris Clarke


Boat I'd most like to row?
C'mon, this one was the obvious choice.
"Olimpica".
Sure, there are so many other boats I'd like to row, but if I had to pick just one this year, the decision would be an easy one.
Now choosing three friends to bring with me to row this amazing four-person craft...that would be a much more difficult decision to make.
Thanks to Tamás Fehér for putting this boat on my radar, and Nereo Zane for helping me identify her accurately.

For "Most adventurous people", I had to choose two:
Bart de Zwart - he may not be a gondolier, but the guy's got guts.  Rowing the entire Hawaiian island chain on a stand-up paddle board with no support; yeah, that's adventurous. Search his name on the net and you'll see that he's well known in the SUP world. I reported on Bart in June, in my post "SUP Expedition in the News".
Tommaso Luppi - This guy makes his living as a gondolier in Venice, Italy (insert your jealous remarks here). And while many of us may have a dream of doing what Tommaso does one day (if only for a day), he had a dream of his own...and he accomplished it. No, it wasn't on a gondola, but he did sail across the Atlantic singlehandedly. Adventurous!
Many thanks go out to Marie at "Italy to Los Angeles and Back" for bringing this story to our attention and keeping us posted on Tommaso's progress.
When the story first appeared, I posted "Gondolier Sails Across the Atlantic? Oh Yeah, I'm Following That!", and then when he completed his solo voyage, I posted "Gondolier Lands in Martinique".

Coolest punts - "Narrow and Fast".
I think if I had to give up Venetian rowing (you know, like if I had to go into the witness protection program), I might consider taking up punting.  Of course if I did need to go into hiding, punting would probably not be the most low-profile choice for a profession.
We've seen passenger punts, big barge-like punts, and the crazy punt races in Stocherkahnrennen. This year Chris Clarke introduced us to the gondolino equivalent, and I can't wait to try one someday.


While going through the posts of 2011, I realized that I could come up with many more categories to post about here.
Instead, I'll invite you to comment about any "favorites" or "bests" that you would like to share.
And as always, with the new year approaching, I encourage you to send photos, videos, and content that you think might be of interest to Gondola Blog readers.

Thanks for reading, my friends.
-Greg

Friday, December 30, 2011

Best and Favorite Posts of 2011 - part 1

We've looked at so many things in the past year on the Gondola Blog.
There have been numerous subjects covered and a lot of cool boats to look at.
Here are some of the posts that stood out for me.

Favorite "instructional" post:
"Ambulance Aftermath" with photos by Martina Zane.

Gondola I'd most like to steal:
I talk a lot about boats I'd like to swipe.
I'm really not prone to maritime theft, and in fact I've never stolen a boat.  I was involved with a yacht repo once, but it was a bank-sanctioned affair and I really only delivered the repo-men to the yacht.  But...if I were to steal a gondola in Venice, of all the boats we've looked at this year, the "Super Deluxe" gondola would be my first choice.

Best "Hey, wait a minute, what's going on there?" photo:
René Seindal's "Kayak in the Sky" absolutely forces you to look at it from different cerebral perspectives.  I'd venture to guess that many readers actually tried to turn their head over while contemplating it. Leave it to a kayaker to get such a great view from the water.

Best action shot:
Mark J. Hunt's image in "Boston Gondolas - the View from Above" captures so much movement in a still photograph.

Most colorful post:
"Caorline Come in All Colors" - Tamás came upon this group of boats while watching a regata one day on Giudecca.  Rainbow references would be easy to make here, but personally, the boats remind me a little bit of the fruit flavored Life Savers candies I used to love as a kid.




Favorite "Snow" shots:
I've received some great photos of snow-on-gondolas over the years, and I'm hoping some of you will send some fresh ones to post this year.  You'd expect a snow post to come from a place further north...than Texas. 

Favorite "Shot from the back of the boat":
The twilight view in the December 24th post "Christmas Eve on the Water in Newport".

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Blog Header Roundup : Changing Colors with the Seasons

Over the Side - Sunset Skies
Hanging your camera over the water, clipped to the end of a tripod can be a nervous affair.
Using the timer feature allows full extension.
Try doing it while rowing - remo in one hand, extended but bundled tripod in the other, and you have to make numerous attempts to get something decent.       In between the decent ones (and all the missfires), you get a few real "keepers".
This was one of five images featured in my post Hanging it Over the Side.

"Roberto and Bella Mae"
This wasn't the first time I placed this great profile image at the top. But when Roberto of Nola Gondola in New Orleans was celebrating his birthday, it seemed like the perfect fit.
The photo first appeared here in the post "Livin' the Dream in New Orleans".

Wedding Gondola in Monochrome -      This was one of many images captured by my office manager (and climber of Mount Kilimanjaro), Alison White. The series of photos were shot on January 17th, 2011 and many can be seen in the post "Mid-January in Newport" and "Good Friday Wishes".

Pupparin in Venice, California -            In early July of 2011, Tim of Sunset Gondola and I ventured up to Venice, California for one last row of his pupparin before hauling her out.  The Whole story can be read (along with more photos) at "Rowing in the "Other Venice".

Parade Illumination- On the fourth night of the Christmas Boat Parade here in Newport Beach, gondolier Justin Deckert shot this one of me as the lights from a passing parade boat was casting light on my white gondolier's shirt.  More photos from that night can be seen in the post where this photo was originally seen:  "Newport Beach Boat Parade, Night 4 Photos"

Spinning in the Light - This was shot with a tripod mounted on the floor near the front of the gondola.  My daughter Cassandra assisted by getting the lighting right and firing the shot (really, "shots" because for every one good long exposure, it seems there are fifteen or twenty failed attempts). The photo was taken in early January of 2011 when some of the Christmas lights were still up from the 2010 festivities.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Benchwarmers and a Beautiful Boat

photos by Tamás Fehér

Just a stone's throw away from the Rialto Bridge on the San Polo side of the Grand Canal, tucked between the crimson awnings of outdoor dining areas, you'll find a gondole servizio that's in an eviable position.
Enviable because the guys here get to row under an amazing bridge anytime they want to.
The acoustics under the Rialto are great.
I've belted out in song more than once while passing under her archway - doing so in a rowing boat with fellow club members is fun, but I've found that singing from the bow of a vaporetto...doesn't quite get the same response.

A drawback of this area, of course, is that these guys also operate in one of the most heavily trafficked areas of the city, but I'm sure the benefits offset the challenges.
I'd also veture a guess that when it comes to handling chaos while rowing passengers, these guys are among the best.

I've snapped a few photos of another small servizio with a similar green awning just a little further down the fondamenta; you can see them in "Pride in Presentation at Riva del Vin", and like the guys at that location - these gondoliers look like they take presentation seriously. 
Even when it gets cold.

Tamás shot these photos in November of this year, which explains why the three guys huddled on the bench are wearing a lot more clothing (and a lot more black).
Black pants are standard all year long, but black ribbons on the hats tend to show up during colder months.  Gondoliers often swap out their white marinere for black ones - they have the same sailor collar and buttons, but are long sleeved.

On this day in November, however, it must have been much colder because two of these guys looked like they were ready for a ski trip.
I think the stripes worn around the neck were a nice touch.

Now let's take a look at that gondola:
Yes, she's beautiful.
There are a few places in Venice where you're guaranteed to find the most beautiful gondolas - the "rivas" south of the Rialto are prime examples.

This one is a "wedding gondola", you can tell by that fully carved deck.
Yes, I'd say that the intagiadòr who showed up at the squero with his toolbag, spent a lot of time on this one.
The gold plating on the statue sitting in place of the canon (usually a tiny vase) shows that the gondolier isn't afraid to spend some money to keep his boat looking her best.
And as we look at the passenger area,
we see more evidence that this boat is well cared for.
The seat has a nice red cover with matching pillows - all trimmed in gold.
Deck carvings are also present along the rails.
The cavalli appear to be plated in gold as well,       but it's hard to be certain.  They also look like they have some sort of "wing" trailing behind (above the tail).    Red being the theme color, the pom-poms follow suit.  And while it's difficult to see much of the pusiol (arm piece), the eight-leafed flower in gold with the red center is perfect for the boat. 






Perched atop the seat-back, we see a nice scimier
The central shield isn't uncommon, but the shape of the shield is unique. 
My guess is that the detailwork in the shield is specific to the owner of the boat.  What really caught my eye was the fact that the sheild was flanked not by cherubs or angels, but horses. 



Working back, we see that the forcola has also been visited by an intagiadòr (or a remer with a flair for carving in the intagiadòr's style).
We've looked at a lot of really nice gondolas here on the blog. 
Each one of them is unique and different in her own way,
but there is one common thread:
Of all the top notch gondolas we've seen,
each and every one is obviously someone's pride and joy.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Parade - Venetian-Style

I've spent a fair amount of time looking at Christmas parades here in California, but in the mean time, Nereo Zane was taking part in a whole different kind of procession in the Veneto.
He writes:
The other day I went to Mestre with a lot of GSVV members rowing along the small river called Marzenego to bring the Baby Jesus to the floating Nativity scene. Unfortunately the weather wasn't our friend (light rain just before we start) so I decided not to risk my photocamera and used a small videocamera instead.

Here's a link to the video:
http://www.vogaveneta.it/video-gallery/98-presepio-galleggiante.html

I watched the video with a big smile.
The boats, the people, the club facility are all old friends - all of whom I miss.
One added element to the mix:
costumes.

In past years we've seen great photos of this procession from a spectator's viewpoint, but this time we got to see it from a rower's perspective.
(see "Christmas in Venezia - procession in Mestre" parts one, two, and three)

Thanks for bringing us along for the ride, Nereo.
What a blast!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas from the Gondola Blog


I wish you all the very best this Christmas.
Thanks for reading, and thanks for your friendship.
God bless you all.
-Greg Mohr

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve on the Water in Newport

There are so many reasons I love my job;
the view is certainly one of them.
Here are three photos I shot this evening
(Christmas Eve) on the waters of Newport.

Golden hour.

Reflection Island.

Still water at twilight.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Safely Navigating the Christmas Party


On your way out the door soon to a family gathering?
If so, you're probably experiencing a range of emotions.

We love our relatives, well, most of us love most of them.
They are genetically the most similar to us, but get them in a room together and you'll see both similarities and differences.
In many families there are recognizable common traits - whether appearance or personality based.
The shared physical traits don't cause any problems, but sometimes similar personalities don't get along...especially if people have had enough time together in the past to get sick of each other.
Welcome to the family gathering!

Why am I waxing on about family dynamics right now?
Because now, more than ever, you're likely to find yourself in a room full of relatives.
Between Christmas eve, Christmas day, Hannukah, and New Years, just about everyone ends up in a room, house, apartment or other place full of relatives and/or friends.

If you're like me, you're one of the "weird ones".
Yes, there will be people at these parties who have "real jobs"
(and probably don't like their jobs nearly as much as you do).
There will be drunk relatives who can't help but belt out a bad version of
"O Sole Mio" when they see you (and they will be certain that nobody else has ever come up with something so clever).
There will be folks who think that you push off the bottom with a pole,
jet skiers who think they can fully identify with your craft, and someone who wonders why your college degree isn't being put to better use (again with the whole "real job" mindset).

My hope for all of you is that in the coming days you'll enjoy these gatherings.
As a gondolier, you are an exceptional human being,
(no bias here, I swear)
and with great power comes great responsibility.
Let's look at some of the folks you'll encounter.  
These are caricatures but many of them do exist.
I've also thrown in a few "do's and don'ts" for your consideration.

The Singing Uncle
We have an unusual variety of skill sets.
Most of us can outsing just about everyone in the room.
Really, you'd be surprised how bad an out-of-practice relative can sound when compared to someone who sings for a living.

So when that drunk uncle greets you with his best "O Sole Mio",
just laugh.  Laugh like it really IS funny.
It may be hard to do, but no matter how much it might annoy you, remember that he's doing it because he likes you.

It would be considered bad form to then blow him away with YOUR best "O Sole Mio".  Instead, if you feel up to the challenge, teach him how to sing it right.
This may or may not be easy (or worth doing) depending on how drunk your uncle is.  In no time, you and your drunk uncle can be serenading the whole place, whether they like it or not.  Believe me, it's fun...in an obnoxious way.
Caution: if you do the job too well, your uncle might ask for a job.

The Tough-Guy Cousin
He's bigger than you, lifts weights, loves mixed martial arts,
and his favorite movie is Fight Club.

If you were to tell him that Venetian rowing was a "sport",
he'd probably laugh out loud at you.
(show him this post: "Crazy Americans - "Strap Cam" with a Soundtrack"
and maybe he'll realize that what we do is indeed a sport)

Watch football on the couch next to him and you'll learn almost everything you need to know about him. Almost.

There's one thing that you and your cousin may not be aware of:
there's a good chance that his smaller cousin
(the gondolier)
could beat him in arm wrestling!
Caution: before you allow things to go there, and before you whip the guy in arm wrestling, remember that,
He's bigger than you, lifts weights, loves mixed martial arts,
and his favorite movie is Fight Club.


The Parents Who Paid For Your Education
Insert your own pulp and clichés here. You know them better than I do.
Maybe they didn't actually pay your college tuition, but they raised you.
Impressive jobs and status symbol cars are nice, but at the end of the day,
a lot of parents really only want a few things for their children:
they want their sons and daughters to be happy, safe, and able to provide for themselves.  In short, a lot of parents want to make sure they prepared you for the world.

Love your parents.
Tell them how much you enjoy this funky job we do.
If you own your gondola operation, remind them of your job security.
Then, do what far too few of us do until someone is terminally ill:
Thank them - for a bunch of things - think about some of the sacrifices they made for you and thank accordingly.
Tell them that you love them.
Express in whatever way you deem appropriate, that they did a great job as parents.

Ok, enough of the mushy stuff, let's talk now about
The Women
There are aunts, grandmas, sisters, cousins, some are younger than you,
some are older, but they are all female.
Why is that important? because as a gondolier
you have a keen awareness of all things romantic.

Romance is a woman's true primary language.
Most guys think they know about romance, but in truth...
                                                                       most guys don't.
Most guys know about as much about romance,
                                              as most ladies know about football.
Sure there are exceptions, but you get my point.
Most guys need to take a "romance as a second language" class.

The women in the room won't want to hear about the rowing, the wind,
the drunk idiots hanging from bridges, no.
They want to hear about the romantic stuff.
Proposals, anniversaries, surprises, and 9 out of 10 will make some kind of swooning noise when you tell them about how some guy last week proposed to his girlfriend by floating a message in a bottle.
Heck, a gondolier can almost "hold court" with the women at a family gathering.
caution: do too good a job and someone might want to date you...and they're related to you!

The Guy Who's Better Than You
He's got a "real job".  Maybe he's got more degrees.
He may have a Rolex, and he's probably arrived in a car that's worth more than you make in a year.
He's better than you - just ask him - he'll tell you.

He's determined to be the one to die with the most toys...and he'll probably succeed in dying before you do.
The stress of his pursuits will help speed that along.
Be his friend to the best of your ability, not because someday you might need him, but because whether he knows it or not...someday he'll need you, 
along with everyone else in the room.
He just doesn't realize it right now.

Oh, and this guy is a classic example of some guys in the romance department.
his idea of romance involves buying a woman's heart.

The Screaming Kids
Well, they might not be screaming when you get there,
but at some point they will surely make a lot of noise. 
If presents are to be opened,
there WILL be screaming.
As a gondolier, you're probably more energetic than most of the adults there.  And if you regularly pilot a small boat in challenging conditions,
you're surely able to handle the stress of screaming kids.

If it's Christmas - play Santa.
No, you don't need to wear the suit (but that can be really fun),
just be the one who distributes the presents.
Make a big deal out of every gift. Inspire the screaming.
Heck, join in and do some screaming of your own.
I'm in my forties and I still love it!

The Geezers
These are the really old folks.
To the kids they are about as exciting as the furniture that they are sitting on, but to them - everything going on in the room is fantastic!
Every person in the room is somehow connected with them,
and in one way or another,
every person there...is there because of them.

I use the word "Geezer" for comedic reasons,
but also because I look forward to being one some day.
And I'm sure my great grandkids will find me about as exciting then as I found my great grandma when I was one of those "Screaming Kids".

The Apostle Paul said "be all things to all people".
I believe his message in that was to communicate in different ways for different kinds of people.
Speak to each person in a way they will best receive the message.
If you talk to the "screaming Kids" the way you would talk to your Great Grandma Ruth, they'll tune you out almost immediately.
More importantly, if you talk to your Great Grandma Ruth like you would to the "Screaming Kids", things will not go well.

The old folks would love to visit with you, to hear all about this unique job you have, and maybe impart some wisdom from their many years of experience.
Remember that they prefer things to move at a little slower pace, and may not hear as well as you do.
Take a breath, shift gears, and soak it up.
Remember that you are more than just your job - especially to the Geezers.
They've known you your whole life and have been proud of you since before you could ever realize it.
they see potential in you that you don't yet know about.
The time you spend with these folks is more valuable to you than you may realize...and it's more valuable to them than you can possibly imagine right now.

The Leading Ladies
There may be some women there who would like to get all the attention,
and then there are those who you should be sure to give credit and attention to.

Unless you came alone, the lady you came with should be at the top of your list.
There's an old saying in Texas:
"Dance with the one that brung you".
Wife, fiancee, girlfriend - if you arrived with her, you're gonna leave with her.
If she meant enough to you to bring her, tell her so, with your words and your actions.
This might sound elementary or silly, but it's an easy one to overlook.
If you're at a gathering of your family, you might want to disappear with the cousins you grew up playig with, or "occupy" the couch with the other guys to watch the game.
If this is your family, try not to abandon your lady - she might not know anyone else there.

The lady doing the cooking is often an unsung hero - sing to her.
She may be your mom, or another relative, but whoever she is, she's probably the only one working, and she deserves more credit than she'll probably get.
If you were going to sing for someone - sing to her.
And if you end up singing for everybody - sing in her honor.
If singing is not on your list of things to do, then raise a toast to the person or people who did the cooking.
Along the same lines, if your grandma baked a pie - tell her how much you loved it.  She will beam.

Now, take a look around the room.
Is there someone who doesn't look like they want attention?
Maybe they're not having a good time?
Seek out the ones who are quietly hiding and at least ask them how they are doing, and if there's anything you can do for them.
Sure, loud carousing is what this time of year is known for,
but selfless caring is what it's really all about.

Blessings to you and your families from the Gondola Blog.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Last Minute Stocking-Stuffer and Gift Ideas


With Christmas just around the corner, most of you have probably already bought all the gifts you need to buy, but if you're like me, you've left the stocking-stuffer items till the last minute.
(Actually, if you're like me you may still have some gifts to buy as well)

Here are a few things you might want to consider as gifts for gondolier friends.
More to the point, here's a list you could mention to those family members who might soon be stuffing your stocking.
Or maybe you might just print it out and happen to leave it on a counter somewhere.

Swiss Army knife
I prefer the Victorinox variation – I always have one of the smaller versions that have a little red flashlight and ball-point pen built in. It also has a cap lifter (that would be a bottle opener) - essential when you need to open someone’s Martinelli’s…or your own frosty beverage of choice at the end of the evening.

Corkscrew/bottle opener
A lot of passengers arrive with their own wine.
Not all of them think it through and bring a corkscrew.
A good gondolier is prepared for such things.
Having a nice looking wine opener is important too, because unlike most things on the boat, this item comes in direct contact with something the passengers will put to their mouth.

Flashlight
The Mini Maglite is a great choice, and not as expensive as some of the more high-tech flashlights on the market. The AA size Mini Maglite fits perfectly in the canon (little brass rose vase piece on the bow), and when you twist off the lid, it becomes a great running light.
Pinch-light
These little flishlights are remarkably bright, and easy to keep on a keyring or somewhere handy.
I posted about one such product called the "Photon Light" a few years back.
Just this week I used my Photon to get the attention of a drunk Duffy driver.
Last night I used it to help a passenger who was struggling to get their camera working, and a quick sweep of the passenger area after each cruise helps guests find their things before they step off the gondola.
Here's a link to my post on the the Photon:

Watch cap
In the colder months, a lot of gondoliers like to swap out their straw hats for something warmer (and less affected by wind).  The black watch cap fits the bill and tucks easily into a pocket as well.

Thermos
Coffee.  I live on coffee.
Gotta have it on my boat, especially if I'm gonna do any singing.
Recently my daughter's voice teacher expressed surprise when I told her that I drank coffee before singing (I guess caffeine is looked down upon by serious vocalists).  My response was a phrase I use a lot: "Hey, I'm a gondolier".
We just do what we need to do.
As I run out the door for a night of rowing in the cold night air, my stainless steel Thermos is almost always with me...and that caffeine definitely helps do what I need to do.

Bandana
Not all gondoliers prefer to wear a bandana around their neck
(although it does help fight the chill of winter).
Some gondoliers tuck a bandana in their back pocket,
or simply keep it in their bag.
A simple square of cloth can be invaluable in the job we perform.
I'd list off some fo the many uses, but you're a creative bunch - I'll let you mull it over yourselves.

Bird chart
They have these at the hardware store just down the street from my house,
and probably at bookstores too.  The one I keep in my bag weighs nothing and can make a huge difference for that passenger who starts asking about the different shorebirds they see.

Anybody want to add to this list?

Merry Christmas, my amici.
- Gondola Greg

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Long Exposure on the Dock in Texas

We al have our compulsions (those things we just can't resist doing), and when it comes to photography, I can't resist the night-time long exposure.

I shot this one a while back during a visit to my operation in Irving, Texas.
The boat is La Serenissima - a rather unique tour-boat variation, which was built in Canada in the early 90's.

To read more about this boat, go to "Unusual Gondola in Texas".

As I mentioned, this is a long exposure, a telltale sign is above the left of the gondola, there's an aircraft of some sort - which left a solid white line as the shutter of the camera was open.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Some Things Just Never Get Old


Cruising under the Newport Blvd. bridge today,
I looked at a view I've seen more times than I could possible count,
and decided that it was still beautiful,
        still worth taking a picture of,
                and still worth sharing with my friends.

I don't care what they say, some things just never get old.

Christmas Boat Parade - Newport Beach - 2011

photo by Steve Elkins

On Sunday night, the final night of the boat parade in Newport this year,
I caught some decent video footage. 
Steve Elkins and I also shot a few photos.
The lighting during this event is "challenging" to say the least.
Everything is moving, including the gondola.
And then there are all the other spectator boats, so to get good photos or video, a gondolier has to be very good at multi-tasking.

As the parade stacked up this year, the first parade boat, which followed the red Harbor Patrol boat, had an eye-catching light display on the bow that looked like it had been stolen from an alien spacecraft.
"Close encounters" of the lead boat.

Grabbing a snapshot of the lead boat was all I could accomplish,
as I was jockeying for position with a few other boats,
and safety always trumps photography in my book.

As the parade passed by, I fished out my video camera and shot this clip:
video
Yes, yes, there IS always some guy with a microphone who,
upon seeing my gondola, feels the irrepressible urge to deliver his best unrehearsed version of a song he's sure all gondoliers sing.

The variety of boats is always an interesting aspect of the parade.
Here we see a motor yacht, then a sailboat, and then a small boat that most have at least three generators on board to power all the lights:
video

One of the most popular boats in this year's parade was this one:
I didn't get the name, but I was able to shoot both a photo and some video - and this one is better appreciated with video.
The bright rectangular "sails" changed color and flashed in stripes.
video
Did you catch the crocodile trailing behind at the end of the video?

Some of these boats plow by quickly, leaving some nice moto-ondoso for a gondolier to handle.
Sure, the parade is supposed to move at a more "leisurely" pace, but there are times when one boat slows down a little, and then decides they need to catch up.
That's when it gets dicey.
photo by Steve Elkins

All the parade boats are well lit.
Many of the participating boats have music as well.
Combining the  music and lights isn't something we see much of,
but when we do, it's usually pretty cool.

Here's one that's "Snoopy cool":
video

Some parade boats have obvious themes.
I think the Spongebob boat won in their category this year.
video

photo by Steve Elkins

You don't have to have a huge vessel to make an impression in the parade.
Here's one example of someone who worked well with what they had.
video

Many of the large fishing boats take part in the procession. 
These are "cattle boats", also sometimes known as "head boats" because you can go fishing without chartering out the whole vessel
(admission is a certain amount per head). 
In this case folks pay per head to be in the parade.

As this one passes by and turns the corner, you can hear her engines well.
These boats specialize in open water trips that require a lot more power.
video

A special thanks goes out to Steve for taking some great photos,
but more importantly - for being such a good sport about it.
I rowed over to his gondola, handed him my camera,
and asked him if he'd take a few shots for me.
When he agreed, I proceeded to give him way more directions than he was probably expecting.
photo by Steve Elkins

As always, it was exciting to be out on the water for the Christmas Boat Parade this year, and my passengers will all tell you that there's no better way to see it than from a gondola.
Not only can you get remarkably close to the procession, but a lot of parade boats see the gondola and speak (or sing) to us over the P.A. system.
When a fully lit mega-yaght cruises by, with Santa Clause on the bow holding a microphone, and Santa says "Merry Christmas to the folks on the gondola" - well, for my passengers, it's something they'll remember for a long time.