Every year Mark auctions off a boat ride to raise money for his students. This year, we took the lucky winner Dominic and his friends for the inaugural Saturday fireworks of the Summer 2008 season.
It was a pretty standard trip: fairly calm water, anchoring for hamburgers and potato salad in the playpen, touring around Navy Pier and heading south along the lakefront...
and then we ran into our old friend and fellow River Rat Doug James, Captain of the Venture On.
Venture On is an awesome trawler. Actually, it's more like a two-story house on water, with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, an engine room you can stand in (with everything very neatly labeled), and the most complete galley to which any landlubber could aspire. When Captain James hosted the end-of-the season River Rat party, those of us who endure boats with a 13' width (called the "beam") sat in his 18' wide living room and sighed. "Isn't this beam heavenly?"
So Mark and Doug hatched a plan, and Dominic's party suddenly sailed beyond the ordinary; Venture On put down its anchor, tossed out its bumpers, and Mazurka saddled on up beside her and "rafted on."
(The view of our little boat from atop Venture On.)
Our whole party jumped ship for the more exciting of the two boats.
Beside the heft of Venture On, Mazurka bounced like a plastic toy duck. While our party disappeared, Doug's son and daughter politely boarded our tiny vessel - maybe they felt sorry for our little boat? - and we chatted it up. Before long, our party returned, and we took in our lines...almost leaving behind one crewmember who jumped onboard just in time.
Were the fireworks better that night? Quite possibly.
Thanks to Dominic Chan for winning the auction.Thanks to Alisa Kusolvisitkul for taking awesome photos. And thanks to Captain Doug James and his crew for letting us raft on!