Thursday, April 12, 2018

Out with Lucia

Just another sunset cruise in Newport,
this time on Lucia with her canopy on.
I swear, this just never gets old.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Five Hundred in the Big Easy

I wish I'd kept a tally. I wish I'd kept a score.
A simple sheet of paper, or scratches under a floorboard.
Ahh, but there are folks out there who are smarter than I am;

guys like Roberto in New Orleans.

Of course, he has had some run-ins with hurricanes,
but still, he has been smart enough to keep track of how many 
"big questions" were asked and answered on-board his gondola.
and yesterday, Nola Gondola hosted number five hundred!

Congrats to the happy couple,
and an even bigger congrats to Roberto - on such a great milestone.

Here's to 500 more!

No Sole Mio

After 17 years of operating on the Charles River in Boston,
Gondola di Venezia is now for sale,
and the boats are not scheduled to be launched this spring.

Here's an article in the Boston Globe about it:


Friday, March 30, 2018

Late Night Serenity

So much of what I post here is either from daytime or around sunset.
Of course we tend to have more cruises at those times.
But when people ask me about my favorite time, I tell them that I loe to be out late in the evening - when the winds have calmed, and there's nobody else out on the water.
Here's a photo I took tonight from the back of my boat.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Seriously Ready for St. Paddy's

photo by Mike Olsen

Green striped shirt:

Green striped oar:

Gondola with green floors and interior:

Green Converse shoes:

Legit Irish flag:

Ready for St. Patrick's Day:


Eddie's got it totally dialed-in.
(now where's the Guinness?) 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Stefano in Alaska Airlines Publicatioin

A while back I had the good fortune of having a writer aboard my gondola.
She was writing a piece for Alaska Beyond Magazine - the in-flight magazine for Alaska Airlines.
We had a wonderful time, and she wrote a nice piece about her experience here in Newport.

We sent in a decent collection of photos for them to choose from,

and they chose a photo with one of my favorite gondoliers: Stefano.
(Yes, that Stefano - the guy I wrote about in my post "Marathon Man" )

photo by S.E. Atkins
To read the article (and see a much better quality photo),
go to the online version of the magazine:
and go to page 144,
Or better yet, hop on an Alaska Airlines flight, 
take a much needed vacation,
and enjoy the magazine in the seat pouch in front of you.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Batela from Above

photo by Mark Schooling

On Saturday the 17th of February, Mark of Gondola Paradiso in Oxnard 
was able to snap this photo of gondolier Josh Sopp - rowing the only batela west of the Atlantic.

Josh rowed for many years at the Gondola Company of Newport.
He was actually one of the guys who trained Mark Schooling so many years ago.  Josh moved into another career category, but always missed rowing.
We all got a surprise visit from Josh when he showed up at the most recent US Gondola Nationals in Huntington Harbour.
During that re-connection, he and Mark got to talking about rowing.

Next thing you know, Josh is back on a boat.
He got to pilot several cruises on both Valentine's Day and the Saturday that followed.
Here are a few more shots:

Look at those crisp white pants on V-Day.
Looking good, Josh!

 One more time under the bridge.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Valentine's Day 2.0

 With the exception of Leap Year, Valentine's Day falls 
on a different day each year. 
If it falls on a Saturday, we know it's gonna be huge.  
But weekday V-Days are unpredictable. 
Often we experience a large flow of cruises on the weekend prior to the holiday, but that wasn't really the case this year.  
I believe there were too many people watching the Olympics. 
To our surprise, this year we had a very big Saturday...after the holiday. 
Our calendar on the 17th was booked up and it turned out to almost be a second V-Day for us in Newport.

 Simon began the day with a cruise on Stella,

 heading off into smooth water under sunny conditions.

 Jonah with a happy couple on the Contessa pupparin.

 John from Minnesota enjoying another day in California.

 I had the opportunity to row the Contessa as well.

Mike waves as he departs.

 It's not all about the rowing either.
Kalev shows how important it is to be able to 
take pictures with whatever the passengers hand you.

 Kyle waves under brilliant colored skies.

 Kalev at night.

 Popping that champagne cork.

 Eddie keeping things squared away between departures.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

The New Boat in Oakland

photos by Angelino Sandri

Last moth I posted photos of an exceptionally beautiful gondola in Oakland.
When Angelino and I were rolling her back into the building, 
she hadn't been in the water yet since she was sea-trialed in Venezia.  
He mentioned that he might launch her in time for cruises on Valentine's Day.
Looks like he did.
Here are the photos to prove it.

Ready and waiting at the dock in front of the Lake Chalet.

The Gondola Servizio dock in the background.
You can just see the stern of the sandolo 
peeking out from behind another gondola.

Lucky couple enjoying a cruise.

Returning to dock.

This is a remarkable boat.
If you haven't viewed photos of her in my earlier post, 
"It's All About the Wood" do so - it's worth your time.
The boat in these photos is actually moving to another location in Napa, but I think it was a fitting first-floating for her to host passengers on Lake Merritt.
Gondola Servizio has been actively cruising with passengers on this lake in Oakland since 1999.

Friday, February 16, 2018

V-Day 2018 in Newport

Here's a collection of images from Valentine's Day of 2018 here in Newport Harbor. I spent a lot of time running around, making sure things were in order, and rowing cruises as well.

If I'd just camped out with my Nikon, I'm sure I could have published a coffee table book of great photos - as there are so many things to point and shoot at.

 The morning started with a familiar sound of hammering.
Gary, Eddie, and Mike set their forcole with mallets and wedges.

The first boats departing with happy passengers.

Gary and I passed each other in the canals with Italian greetings.

 Mike arriving on the pupparin known as Contessa.

The Wedding Gondola awaits another couple.

A small one-of-a-kind gondola being rowed by Simon.

Simon returning with a tip of the hat.

As the day turned to evening, the sky was a brilliant display of color.

Another V-Day in the books.
We enjoyed beautiful weather, great brotherhood among gondoliers, 
and everyone who sat in a gondola had a wonderful time.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Dramatic Sky Departures

I stood on the dock in Newport this evening 
and watched as several gondoliers rowed off into uncertain conditions. 

It had been cool and blustery,

then the clouds made their entrance.
At one point some raindrops came down,
but it was way better than it could have been.

Mike Olsen rows a boat that he recently restored. 

John Kerschbaum of Minnesota enjoys non-frozen waters.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Bepi Venexiano in Sea Magazine

Without question, nearly every single gondola operation in the U.S.
is the best kept secret in the city.

It's not that we want it that way.
It's just that we operate silent black boats in the dark.

Thanks to Sea Magazine, Sunset Gondola in Huntington Harbour 
has a bit more visibility since the February edition was released.

Click here to see a digital version.
He's on page 63 and 64.

The full issue, along with the second page of the article is here:

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Carnival on the Water

video by Nereo Zane

When you hear about  processions on the Grand Canal, 
you might expect serious things.
You might expect traditional pomp and circumstance.
but when it comes to Carneval, you would be surprised.

Recently a bunch of crazy Venetians (the very best kind) 
got together, dressed themselves up, and rowed their various craft
 down the Canalazzo - to the thrill and encouragement of a multitude of onlookers.  All in clear but rather cold conditions.

I've included the video clip here, but I recommend going to this link

and bringing it up to full screen.

I've watched it all the way through several times,
and there are lots of fun things worth pointing out.

All views are from the GSVVM batela (themed out this year as “the Mickey Mouse boat” for fairly obvious reasons)

It doesn’t happen very often, but now and then they actually shut down the Grand Canal for an event.

In this case it was for the rowing procession of clubs  - all dressed up in some sort of costume or other.

Here's my play-by-play.
quite likely you will find other fun stuff as you watch.

Time      details
00:56     Holstein cow rows in sestina.      
01:10     The big red and white peata “The Brentana” makes her entrance. 
We’ve looked at this huge boat before in the post That "Big Boat from Brenta"

01:33     Someone’s got pink hair. Wait, they ALL have pink hair!
01:47     Spongebob theme? Oh yeah! No wait…those guys are actually dressed as sections of the Mose floating tide barrier system.  Original, but I would have gone with Spongebob.
01:56     Accademia Bridge appears to be masked for restoration.
02:15     Vaporetto stops make good viewing platforms.
03:01     Look! Escaped prisoners!
03:40     Vaporetto vessel leaning hard to port.
04:50     Sumo sighted on a sandolo.         
05:20     Rialto Bridge comes into view.

At some point the band, DJ, or some dude with a sound system on the big peata came into earshot.       

05:50     Passing under Rialto.
06:10     Everybody sings a familiar song.
08:15     “Pope, Ohe!”
10:14     The procession enters the Cannaregio Canal, 

rowing towards the Tre Archi Bridge.
10:33     Things are getting cramped!
11:22     Now THAT’S a crowd.
12:00     It’s the “FruitCrate Gondola!” 
And MAN does that guy have a fancy outfit.
12:38     The Phantoms of the Opera
13:10     Yes, that IS a huge rat.
14:13     Balloon release!

Big thanks to Nereo Zane for giving us a front-row seat to this fun and unusual tradition in Venezia.
In case you'd forgotten what Nereo looks like,
I've included a very recent photo of him here:
Oh yeah.
He definitely pulled off the Mickey look.
Drawn-on whiskers and all.
I don't think I could have rocked that look as well as he did.