#WOMBATSDOAMERICA, Day 5
Blogging our recent trip day by day, four weeks after the event.
The day was sunny and breezy and The Wombat Gang pootled down to the waterside in Erie after a slow, lazy morning chatting in the warmth of Kim’s yard. By the dock, the woman in the windy ticket office proved remarkably ditzy and kept forgetting things, such as who had just spoken to her, and where the pen had gone that she held in her hand. Eventually, though, we did manage to buy our little red tickets that would allow us to set sail – yes, set sail! – and Viv promptly lost hers.
It was found pretty quickly, thank all the Gods of heaven, for today, readers, we were to sail the seven seas (Presque Isle Bay), fire mighty broadsides (squirt water) and squeeze the bum of our parrot (Viv). Actually, that last one was probably just me. Soon we boarded the ‘pirate’ vessel, ‘Scallywags’. This was, in fact, a pleasantly appointed small ship made out like a pirate craft, a garish red one, bedecked with pirate flags, pirate bunting and faux cannon. What’s that? Yes of course pirates had bunting, as any fule kno.
Stepping into the boat we turned left, up the stairs to the ‘bridge’, only to be called back down for a safety talk from ‘the dread pirate Derek’. He was wittily amusing, and took great care to include the young passengers, pointing out to the adults present that there could be no responsibility placed on either him or the kids if anyone got soaked during the voyage.
The Wombat Gang spread out, some returning to the bridge for a nice sit down, while others leaned on the bow rail, face into the breeze, eyes narrowed against the sun like seafaring gods. Susan fell for Captain Mike, and immediately went to chat him up. ‘Scallywags’ bobbed out into the sparkling Presque Isle bay. Wind tossed our hair, the bay glittered, and the sun shone hotly down.
The crew were brilliant. Captain Mike steered the ship from up on the bridge, pirate Cameron served drinks on the deck below, and the energetic pirate Derek entertained. He was superb with the children, playing water games, having squirt gun battles and tirelessly engaging all on board. Later he led the youngsters in a dance, which Mary also joined, and he got the kids to hunt for coins which they could exchange for small gifts at the end of the voyage.
The faux cannon along the sides of the ship were revealed to be water squirters. The marina on the far side of the bay was packed with boats, some of which were obviously very expensive craft. Everyone there seemed happy to greet we tourists, however, laughing and waving and daring our young crew to squirt them. (Sidenote: everyone I met in the US was warm and friendly. Maybe this has something to do with their reaction to my accent, or maybe they just are. I didn’t even get shot once). When our cruise ended roughly seventy-five minutes later, not a single person on that boat came off without a huge smile. The cruise was yet another brilliant idea from Kimster – like a trip on the Yorkshire Belle at Bridlington, but much (much) warmer.
Along the dock we strolled, down to Rum Runners, a harbour bar, where the Landshark flowed refreshingly. I loved the grassy umbrellas, the Steely Dan music, and the boats tying up actually AT the bar for bikini-clad hotties to dismount. Wait, that’s not right. You don’t dismount a boat, do you? That’s horses, dismounting. A horse would have drowned, so I wouldn’t advise dismounting a horse there. Sorry, I drifted off. Where was I?
The Wombat Gang numbered ten – with my beloved and me were Faye and her Dave, Sandy and her Dave, Ellen and Jere, Susan and Kim. Maybe there should be an Oxford comma after Susan, so as to remove any suspicion that she and Kim were a couple. Hey, we saw an otter!And we ate onion rings with ranch dressing, assisted by a cheeky starling.
In the evening, the gang drove out onto the peninsula (Beach 6, fact fans) to watch the sun set slowly over the sea in alliterative fashion. We had been told, and a leaflet supported this view, that the sunset at Presque Isle is one of the finest in the world. I wasn’t sure how this could be a thing, since a good sunset mainly depends on good clouds and clouds are not hugely tied to single geographical points of the earth, but time would tell.
Kim stopped off briefly to pick up three pizzas the size of Volkswagens which, I have to tell you, were bloody great. Not that we were allowed to eat any before we reached the beach because that got your hand slapped, apparently. A thin procession of trees stood between the car park and the loose sands of Presque Isle beach, where we found a good place to sit, along with a fair scattering of other people enjoying the sands that evening. At intervals along the strand, chunky high chairs loomed, presumably for the use of lifeguards, a la Baywatch. Dark glowering breakwaters paralleled the shoreline every hundred metres or so.
We chatted and laughed amiably as the eyedazzle of the fireball to the west dipped ever closer to the horizon. Or more accurately, I suppose, as the horizon slowly rose to kiss Sol, the lifegiver, on its rim. Yeah, I know, I’m struggling with the poetry of symbolic sunsettery. I should stop trying. *farts*
You know, the conversation with these good people never once faltered our whole time in America. They’re really gobby. Can’t shut them up, I’m pleased to report. The sunset was as a sunset usually is. As I’d expected, a few more clouds would have helped, but I took a few half-decent photographs. Mary took some belters. She’s always had “the eye”, and her new camera is finally helping her to take photographs of true quality. Personally, I would have liked a headland to silhouette, but luckily Viv and Susan did wander down to the water’s edge so I was able eventually to get a shot which did have foreground interest.
A dozen people filed past on Segways, one after the other in a line, fat tyres kicking up the loose sand. They all looked very serious, possibly worried about falling off the rocking platforms beneath their feet. I can’t imagine they were enjoying themselves much. Unlike us, enjoying a fifth endlessly entertaining and joy filled day ‘doing’ America.
“Giz a cock soup.” – Dave
“I’m a lot healthier than last year.” – Ellen
“I’m a lot herer than last year.” – Mary
“If you fart on an airplane they charge you for the air you use upo.” – Viv
“Kim makes the best breakfasts.” – Wombat
“Want some cold pizza for the road?” – Kim
“I’m finer than frog’s hair.” – Dave
“Hi Mare!” – Tom