Friday, January 30, 2009

The Bon Voyage Bash

If every bon voyage party could be like the one we had for the crew of MV Gypsies In The Palace, I would be happy to leave home more often.
This is John writing, by the way.

The date was August 31. The place was the Wentworth by the Sea Marina in New Castle, New Hampshire. The weather was sensational and so was the gathering of family and friends,
'nic-and-jen.jpg' plus fellow cruisers Norm and Vicki Naughton who are traveling aboard their own DeFever, M/V Tide Hiker.

Funny thing is, all these people claim they came to see us off, but in truth, we know that many of them probably came just to see Scott Kirby.

As Key West regulars and Radio Margaritaville listeners all know, Scott Kirby is a singer, songwriter and musician of the highest order, plus he’s a New Hampshire native to boot, and many moons ago – as I recall, we were several adult beverages into the evening – Tammy, Doug, Colleen and I began telling Scott about our very own version of a “Grand Bar Scheme.” As he listened to us describe our plan for a three-year Caribbean adventure, Scott made a promise – yes, it was a tequila-soaked promise; my favorite kind – that if we pulled off our plan, he would happily play at our bon voyage party.

True to his word, Scott set up for a solo show on the glorious deck of the Wentworth Marina, where more than 100 of our friends and family members got to listen to Scott’s many tales of life upon the sea.

Only it wasn’t a solo show.

Our friends and family members are not shrinking violets, so we should not have been surprised when Scott happily turned the microphone over to Dan Lombardo, a life-long Clayton family friend (and the undisputed, third-wheel star of a week-long Barbados vacation with Colleen and me, circa 1998).

In honor of our pending adventure, Dan wrote a song called “Pulling Up Anchor.” It was poignant, touching and funny, and if you consider the line about us leaving a trail of swizzle sticks on the sea so we could find our way home, you can probably get the gist of it without having heard it.

When the entertainment portion of the afternoon was over, it was time to dine, and the array of food and drink was astounding. Many thanks to Colleen’s sisters, Kathy and Peaches, plus their respective spouses, Jim Ramsay and Jeff Paige, who did yeoman’s work – there’s a nautical term for you – on the many grills that were at our disposal, courtesy of Marina director Pat Kelly (whose hospitality merits a separate blog entry of its own).

We thought – somewhat optimistically – that a keg of Sam Adams would help us make it through the night. It came courtesy of Amoskeag Beverages president Tom Bullock, an avid sailor who claimed he was happy to donate the keg if it meant it would get Colleen and I out of his hair for two years.

Alas, the keg was soon bobbing in the barrel, and the party was far from over. A hardcore crew of about 40 guests lingered long into the night, the complete Scott Kirby entourage included. As a result, our thirsty guests took a big bite out of Gypsies’ beer stores, so re-provisioning will soon be necessary.

On the other hand, the many, many gift bottles of fine wine and hearty spirits made the whole evening a happy wash for captain and crew.

Good music, good food, good drink, good friends.

It was a grand send-off for a “Grand Bar Scheme” that was coming to fruition, and the memories will warm our hearts as we head to warmer climes over the next several months.
And if you don’t check out, you’re nuts!

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