Thursday, September 29, 2011

Boating adventures and booze

I don't know why everyone loves that movie, Almost Famous, but do you remember when the main character wrote the lead to his story in Rolling Stone magazine? Something about flying over the ocean and "we're all going to die..."

Well I'll do you one better, chump.

Two weeks ago, I was with some friends on a boat and we were powering our way from St. John back to St. Thomas late at night. The ride usually takes no longer than 15 minutes. During the excursion, the boat shut off completely. Our drunken giggles and the sound of the whaling engines were suddenly replaced by severe silence as we started to drift in complete darkness.

The boat doesn't have a gas meter so we all thought we ran out. Perhaps the battery? It didn't really matter because we were in a pickle and the situation looked grim.

As everyone retreated to their cell phones and attempted to call boating heroes at 2:18 a.m. on a Sunday morning, I took off my shirt and stared at both shores. Which one was closer, St. John or Rock City? Could I swim it and be the hero? If I did make it to shore, then what?

All these questions annoyed me so I did what any rational person would do in such a situation.

I popped a bottle of champagne.

"I've been in a lot worse predicaments than this, folks," I said in attempt to chill everyone out.

For some, it really didn't matter. My girlfriend and another girl we were with had already hunkered down in the front of the boat. It looked like they were going to sleep this one off and wait for the sun to rise in a few hours.

So you can imagine their reactions when they heard the steady stream of urine hitting the warm Caribbean Sea in the middle of the night. They were really irked when they heard the cork pop off the champagne bottle.

I thought it was a great idea. It was a minor celebration to mark the end of a great adventure.

It all started about 10 hours earlier when Brianna and I met Scottie H and Benji at the marina, where they keep their boat. It was raining when we arrived and we just sat in our cars and waited for the storm clouds to push off.

"Shit will burn off," Brianna said while mocking one of my favorite island quotes.

For some odd reason, Moose and Marcus bought about two cases of Schaefer beer. You know, the good stuff. The cans are only 10 oz. so that justified the need to crush at least 20 of them before we got to shores of Cruz Bay.

Once there, we picked up a few more beach beauties and went to a nearby bay for some scurfing. What is scurfing you ask? Well if you didn't waste your time clicking on that link, it's basically like water skiing but using a surf board. We did that for about an hour and a half. Maybe that's how we ran out of gas?

After the scurf action, we decided to go back to shore and visit the fine establishment otherwise known as Woody's. We had already crushed our Schaefer supplies, mixed vitamin water with Cruzan dark and I guess we were all had the happy hour shakes. What turned into "one shot and we'll move on" turned into a shot frenzy and a $362 booze tab.

If there was a break in the sloppy conversation, Scottie H would lock eyes with you and tap his wrist with two fingers. In most civilized cultures, this gesture usually references what the current time is. To Scottie ("Boating!" was his war cry), this meant it was time for another round of shots. Though I didn't take part in each of them, Jager bombs, Cruzan 151, Washington Apples and Statue Of Liberty shots -- the one where you light your finger on fire -- were all consumed.

It's during those critical hours that follow when I want to hire a stenographer. For obvious reasons.

I do recall wandering into a sophisticated bar called Castaways where Scottie H grabbed the soda gun that servers use to refill drinks and shooting different liquids at innocent bystanders.

Later on, there was a debate with a cute bartender named Ricki. No, not about another gaudy bar tab. The bartender grew up on St. Croix, as did Scottie, so a little trash talk about their rival high schools started up. Since I cover high school sports for the Daily News, I felt I had some knowledge on the subject and decided to chime in on the discussion.

What did I say? I'm not too sure. I don't really remember. All available stenographers, please send me your resume.

At some point, I remember watching the Mayweather-Ortiz fight at another bar. I had a great conversation with a Islander who was a huge boxing fan. I told him that I wrote the article about the USVI professional boxers earlier in the week and he hugged me. Then he bought me a shot. It was a great symbol of respect shared among two sports fans.

The blurry St. John experience started to fade when we got back on the boat in Cruz Bay and warmed up the engines for a return trip.

Later on, when the engine went dead, the champagne was drank and after Moose proved his vast knowledge of 90's alternative music via Pandora to me, a savior joined the party.

Our friend Emily, who was also on board, somehow got in contact with a friend of a co-worker of a former roommate of a dental assistant and he rolled up to our drifting boat on a dingy with a 5-gallon drum of gas. We offered him money and he passed and he wouldn't even take a sip of champagne. A true American hero who did not seek any praise.

After a few pleasantries, he set off back to St. John and we were able to start the engine again. Most people would go straight home after such an ordeal and be happy they didn't have to spend the night out at sea.

What did we do? We got to shore and stopped into Caribbean Saloon for one. Make that many.

It was just another typical Saturday in paradise.

1 comment: