Saturday, October 12, 2002

Today was a really great day. Wow.

I shot the Columbus Day Regatta here in Biscayne Bay off the coast of Miami. It was amaaaaazing (a la Laurie in Trading Spaces after seeing homeowners' homework completed in the a.m. of Day 2, as in, "Y'all, this room looks amaaaaazing.") All these huge sailboats with brightly colored sails billowing out in front coming straight toward us. (Oh, and Scott? You're right, now that I have seen multi-sailed ships heading toward me, I can't deny it. One-Eyed Willy's boat in Goonies *is* heading out to sea, *not* toward the shore to bring the kids and their families and Sloth all that "rich stuff." Oh, well....)

Anyway, the Regatta was incredible. I was on the "press boat"- two men from the yacht club took me and the reporter wherever we wanted to go. They were so nice. The guys were on the Race Committee, so we were their "volunteer work" for the event. They took us around on the one man's private boat, complete with kitchen and sleeping quarters and TV and airconditioning, although we didn't use any of that stuff. The owner kept talking about how much smaller this boat is than his previous boats (I almost snarfed my bottled water- did I mention they had tons of bottles of water and coke (soda, not drugs) in the boat's handy little built-in automatic icemaker/cooler?- when he said it.)

We got to speed around to all the check points and the finish line, lots of fast, "feel like you're flying" type boating going on. V. Fun.

Seeing all those huge sails coming straight toward us was awe-inspiring, it really was. I could just barely imagine how soldiers in the navy for countries such as France, et al, felt when they saw the Spanish Armada advancing on them. Run away!!! RUN AWAY!!! :)

The big thing about the regatta, though, is that thousands of people join the racers for a night of "comraderie on the sea." In theory, this is the time that the "waterfront community"comes together- it's supposed to be participants in the race and boating enthusiasts. Yeah, no. Pretty much anyone with anything that floats is having what the reporter called "Mardi Gras on Water-" Beads, nudity (LOTS of nudity- it was actually hard to make a picture out there without a topless woman or man going completely starkers) and debauchery in general.

It's supposed to be a lot like Carnaval in S. America- people throwing water balloons and hitting each other with spray from water cannons. I have a shot of some women (in bikinis) getting hit with a lot of water, shouting in surprise as they get soaked by people in another boat. My editor actually used the phrase "You're gonna want to dodge and burn some of the spray there to uh..... take care of the, um, 'crotch issue.'" Never heard *that* one from a picture editor before. :) The woman was wearing a bikini; it wasn't that bad, but still... Hmmm..... ;)

Apparently, things will get crazier tonight as more and more people get drunk. People swim from one boat to another (including the reporter and I- me with my underwater Reef Life point and point; although the photo of Hannahbelle [sic] swimming with her notebook in a plastic bag was pretty classic) but in years past, crazy drunk people have accidentally run over swimmers with their motorboats. Bad new bear..

Of course, no Blog Entry would be complete without me marvelling about an aspect of La Vida Loca in Miami, so here you have it. The writers tell me the big thing to do in the anchorage (I learned a new word! It's where all the boats park out on the open water. I always thought it was just a city in Alaska. Makes sense to me, though, what with there being a lot of boat near Alaska. Did everyone else already know this? Is this like the time I realized in the last ten minutes of Austin Powers that Mike Myers is playing both Austin AND Dr. Evil, and everyone else knew all along?) is to fire off emergency flares and/or illegal fireworks, but there are thousands of boats all packed in for miles and other people's boats catch on fire. A few years ago, the Coast Guard had to airlift a women with third degree burns out of there, and the wake from the Coast Guard ship (large enough for a launch pad) and the helicopter nearly capsized people in small boats. I don't know....

As for me, I'm done for the night; I had a fabulous day shooting, and I hope nothing like that happens this year. :)

I will say this, though. Miami is called "the Magic City." I gotta say, I am really beginning to like Miami. A lot. Despite all the bad stuff around me, that has happened to me, and so on. I mean it; I really like Miami. That is no small feat. Seriously, that's magical.

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