I paddled in the Venice Canals Holiday Boat Parade again this year, my fourth of doing this. The first year I just tossed my kayak in the water and paddled around. Year 2, I actually decorated a bit and had a few people from SCOA join me in kayaks of their own. Last year, we tried to make a major SCOA event of it, with a decorating party in advance. Unfortunately, last year's weather didn't lend itself to much advance work, as the rain stopped only about 4 hours before the parade started.
This year, 82 degree weather ensured that the paddling and decorating would be great, but I was paddling on my own. At the last minute, my neighbor decided to dress as her "Mommy Whorebucks" character and tag along behind me on an inflatable donut. It was the second year in the red kayak, but this time I decided to re-re-reverse the order of things and put the Christmas tree on the back again. Still multi-denominational, but at least this way I can see where I'm going, even with the new, larger tree and better lights. Several people told me I had the best tree in the parade, which sort of surprised me because prior to two years ago I had never put together a Christmas tree in my entire life! As usual I was blasting Springsteen's version of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," because it's still the only Christmas tune I have available.
I was tossing candy to the kids at the many parties that line the canals and occasionally to people photographing me from the footbridges. I've apparently become somewhat of an institution, because some of them know I'm coming and are waiting for me. Next year I think I need to stock up with a bit more, because for the second year in a row I was a bit short at the very end.
It's interesting to see these photos, because from water level it wasn't obvious how spread out everybody got this year. In some of these photos you can't even see another boat, though there were about 50 in total.
I've been busy with work and other things, so it's taken a bit of time to collect all the photos. Two different people were taking pictures, and I have a set of "water level" images of my own. Rather than trying to make one cohesive story of these disparate sets, I'll present them separately.
First up, my friend Veronica's photos, taken from various points along the parade route:
My friend Mary took a bunch too, including some overhead shots of me passing under one of the bridges and the last remaining partiers at James Beach later that evening. God, I need to lose some weight!
And finally my own "water level view."