Train Cruise 2016

Cruise time!  It's been a year since our last cruise--the 2015 Sail Across the Sun/Train Cruise.  Time to do it again.

Thursday:  up too early to fly to Ft. Lauderdale, and then we took a shuttle to the port of Miami to meet the boat.  I'm pretty sure we do this to save money.

A few changes for this one:

1.  Nick is still on paternity leave, so Ganesh Giri Jaya (of the Yacht Rock Schooner) filled in for him.

2.  Kip and Zach were along as crew, and they brought the in ear monitors.  Leading up to this trip, there was some doubt about whether or not we'd be able to use them because of the different sound systems on the boat and the short turn around time between bands.  They agreed to give it a shot.

As usual, the host company, Sixthman, made it very easy for us to hop on board.  A quick check of our rooms--we have balconies this year.  Monkey on one side...

and Kip and Zach on the other.

The cruise ship terminal at the port.

After lunch and a little bit of a nap, it was time to turn the boat around and leave.

A stable of yachts--check out how the one in the middle of the picture has a HELICOPTER on the back.

Once we'd left the harbor, I squeezed in a couple of hours of practicing.

Gig number one!  We had the atrium stage, which situates us directly across from the front desk of this floating hotel.  After the frantic set up (and some quick checking of the in ear monitors), we settled in for our seventy-five minute set.  The show was fun, but getting on stage, throwing our gear together, plugging into the PA, and sound checking in about forty minutes is really stressful.  I was glad that there were no equipment failures.

Friday:  Sea day.  Breakfast of...

Maybe the best part of the entire cruise was the balcony door.  I slept the first two nights with the door open, which was great with Miami's 70 degree, low humidity winter.  Then again, one time I woke up and Zach was looking at me from around his balcony.

Gig number two!  This one was supposed to be outside on the top deck around lunch time, but the wind and the potential for wet weather caused us to be moved into the atrium for a second straight night.  No problem, though.  All the rough moments from the previous night's in ear mixes were completely solved.  This was one of the best atrium shows we've ever had on this boat.

Saturday:  I woke up off the coast of Jamaica.



It looks great, but we'd heard from people who went ashore early that this port was pretty crappy--very few options for food, too many options for cabs (to take us where, exactly?) and shitty weed (and who wants to get busted and possibly left behind in Jamaica?).

Monkeyboy and I walked down the sidewalk (propositioned eleven times in ten minutes for cab rides).  As we began to loop back around to the ship, we ran into The Great Bencuya and his girlfriend.

Our original idea was to eat at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville (in indication of how bad the options were), but the wait was damn near eternal, so we left.  On the way back to the boat, we happened across a bistro, across from the guy with the coconuts and the rum.

It took around two hours to get our meals (I had a nine dollar chicken wrap, so it wasn't anything out of the ordinary.  We would have eaten better if we'd stayed on the boat.  Catching the zika virus would have given us something to do.  A waste of time and money, but at least I can now say I've gotten off the ship in Jamaica, and I never have to do it again.

Gig number three was also to be on the pool deck, but the winds and the rain moved us into the smallest stage on the boat, the Spinnaker Lounge.  The stage is small and dark, and the low ceiling means that the lights are almost at eye level.

The two atrium shows used a compatible monitor mixer, so our in ear mixes were mostly the way we always have them set (small problems on the first night, but things were really good on the second).  The Spinnaker used a completely different system, so Zach had to create new monitor mixes for all of us from scratch, and he nailed it.

Sunday:  I was very happy to have this last day at sea free of gigs.  Not much happening in the ocean today, except for a race with a container ship.

I saw some of Train's last set.  Very good.

So...Greg, Monkey, and I were drunk enough to get involved in the singles mixer (even though we aren't single).  When we arrived, it became speed dating, so we were volunteered as target practice.

Monkeyboy made name tags for the three of us.

One of my dates was particularly disinterested in the process.  It appears that we were doing shots.

I should point out that the theme for the day was The Great Gatsby, hence the flapper dresses.

Uhhh...we had wine.

We left (Greg crawled out on his hands and knees to get away) the speed dating thing to go to the tequila tasting (already in progress).  Sixthman had volunteered us to sort of cohost the event with Train's bass player.  We were totally obnoxious.  I'm pretty sure he hates us.

So...I had no tequila.  Greg had no tequila.  Monkeyboy had lots of tequila, and had to go to his room for the rest of the cruise.

After a cooling off/sobering up period, the surviving members of the band attended our traditional meal at the teppanyaki restaurant.

Greg and Ganesh celebrated their birthday.  The restaurant staff tried to divide this cake nine ways (a lethal dose, 6"x6"x4").  I tried, but after eating two helpings of fried rice, there was simply not enough room left in my human container.

We split up and everybody went to pack.  We raced a couple of cruise ships.

Monday:  get off the boat!  Where is our shuttle back to Ft. Lauderdale!

Waiting to go through security.  Pete pulled this hat from the bushes behind us.

I slept the whole way home.  It's the only way to fly.

See y'all next year!

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