Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Bluefoot Pirate Adventures - Fort Lauderdale.

DSC_2750A friend of mine told me about the Bluefoot Pirate Adventures over a year ago. I even mentioned them in an earlier post but this past weekend was the first time I had visited. The plan was to take a few photos and move on. Instead, I struck up a conversation with Captain Kyle, owner of the ship, just before he began checking in passengers for the first trip of the day.

DSC_2852The Bluefoot Pirates Adventure is primarily a children's adventure complete with water cannons. They will cast off with a group of full grown pirates for special events when called upon. I watched while the children got the full makeup, scarf, eye patch, sash and sword and were ready to board. I was heading out when the captain mentioned there was a last minute cancellation and I could book my accommodations for a very reasonable fee. We reached an accord as pirates say. Besides, what kind of blogger would I be if I passed  up an opportunity to bring you the full story.

DSC_2760As soon as we weighed anchor, I realized this was going to be no pleasure cruise for the little ones. While the adults sat back in the shade, the kids were put to work. First to hoist the colors, next to check the cannons, and always to draw swords and yell ARRGG! to passing ships at sea. At first timidly but after the mate announced they were to use their outside voices, loud enough to scare off the pelicans.

Mid way though the voyage, there was a treasure map discovered on board but all that shouting got us the attention of Barnacle Bill. Everyone back to the cannons!! Suddenly there was water flying everywhere. A few of the parents even jumped in to help out the little ones - so they said.


DSC_2967There is no doubt every child on the boat was going home with great pirate tales to share. Probably for weeks. Even a little treasure.  The adults, I'm sure, were more interested in the yachts, cruise ships, and mansions we passed by. I know that's what I'll be dreaming about for while.


In the end I had a really great time. Now I just need to see who I know with small children so I can conveniently forget my camera and do the cruise again. You know - to 'help out" with the water cannon.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Dragons and Drums - Hollywood ArtsPark

DSC_3061One of the great things about making so many friends in entertainment business this past year is I never need to check the newspapers for events. They just pop up in my Facebook. Way too many for my limited free time these days. There has been one group I have been wanting to see for over a year. The Ronin Taiko Drummers. I have either been too busy or they have been performing too far away. When I got the word they were performing 10 minutes from my house, I rearranged my entire schedule to attend.

You would think now that I am a nearly noticed blogger, I could score a few free tickets to events. Yeah - not quite. But no need. The Ronin Taiko Drummers were the opening and closing act of Dragons and Drums at the Hollywood ArtsPark celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. The performance included Chinese Lion Dancers and Samoan Fire Dancers. Ronin Taiko was joined by the students of the Wadaiko Academy. And everyone scored free tickets. That's right, Hollywood put this high energy event on free of charge.

DSC_3097 My photos are not all that great but the show was fantastic and easily the best attended event I have seen yet at the ArtsPark. The huge stage was filled wall to wall all night, lighting and sound were perfect, and the show started right on time. Just after the drumming began, there was not a patch of grass to be found in the amphitheater. Some folks brought chairs but many just had blankets or sat right on the grass.

Besides one of the best shows I've seen in a while, one thing really caught my attention. The amount of children in the audience. At one point, the Chinese Lion Dancers took the stage and children came streaming down from the hillside to get a closer look. When was the last time you saw that in Florida and not been in Disney. Then they headed back to their parents and grand parents. This was truly a family show for all ages. The type of event I would go to, way back when I was a kid, with my family and seeming lost to time in this modern, grownups only world. Congratulations to Hollywood for bringing back true family entertainment and making it cool enough for all ages to enjoy.


This was the first year for Dragons and Drums. After an hour and a half, the audience called out for one more dance, and no one left till they turned off the stage lights. Looks like Hollywood may have hit upon yet another signature, annual event.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Bahia Mar Marina - Fort Lauderdale

DSC_2963 I have been truly neglecting my blog. Nine months of working on my new house has really taken it's toll on my fun time. To remedy that I have decided to cram this weekend full starting off with a visit to the Bahia Mar Marina in Fort Lauderdale

The goal was to take a few quick pics of a replica 1526 Spanish Galleon in town and head home. I got a bit more adventurous than I planned.

When I moved to Florida in 1978 from Philadelphia, the first tourist attraction my parents took us on was the Jungle Queen. I started my appreciation for odd Florida attractions right then and there. For many years the relatives would come down from the cold, white north and we would entertain them by taking this cruise up the New River. Probably 20 times, the last time probably 20 years ago. I think it's way past time to do it again.

After shooting a few pictures of the Jungle Queen, I spotted distant pirate flags blowing in the wind. Being the easily distracted type, I took a stroll over to see what was going on and found the
Bluefoot Pirate AdventuresStay tuned. I'll have a lot more to say about this ship next week.
As I turned to head over to the Spanish Galleon, yet another blast from my past - Flamingo Deep Sea Fishing. How many times did Dad take me out deep sea fishing? How many times did I bring in the bigger fish? I don't even like fishing. I do like the memories though. Eventually we bought our own tiny boat. Most of those memories involved poor seamanship. That and Dad always made me bait my own hook. Best to leave all that to the professionals.

After an hour or two crossing the parking lot and an as of yet undisclosed detour, I finally reached my destination, complete with a ridiculously long line. Right in front of the ship I spotted my new best friends - The South Florida Pirates. I may have even captured a few of the Pirates of the Treasure Coast. These groups have been turning up in my photos for some time now. I'll have more to say about them later this week as well.

South Florida Pirates

With all the running around then spending time with the South Florida Pirates, I ran out of time and got way too much sun to tour the ship. Last day in port is tomorrow so I will give it one more try, maybe a little more focused this time around. Assuming I'm not already too crispy.

There was one additional ship hovering high above. Not sure how to secure passage but if anyone knows, drop me a line.

How do I get a ticket for this ship?
This concludes my first cliff hanger blog. Be sure and tune in tomorrow and the whole rest of the week for a recap of this weekends adventures.  

Saturday, May 4, 2013

March of Dimes - March for Babies - NSU 05/04/2013

75th Anniversary
A March of Dimes walk-a-thon is not the typical subject matter for my blog. So how did I find my way to this event? It's a long story of one thing leading to another, one friend leading to a new one, and one event leading to the next. Once upon a time I walked and raised money for the March of Dimes several years in a row but that was literally decades ago. A small amount of time really considering this event started 75 years ago as a fight to cure polio. So what brought me back?

My friend Christine,  twelve year veteran of the March of Dimes event and long time member of the
South Florida Pirates, who I met quite by accident at a concert event a year ago, who recognized me from my photos of the
Florida Renaissance Festival. She invited me to shoot this event as a guest photographer. Not my first request as a blogger but the first one I have accepted. How could I not. Christine and I have gone from Facebook friends to real friends over the year and I live close enough to have ridden my bike to this event. I had to do it.

DSC_2498Upon my arrival I was presented with an official photographer badge and a long list of items to shoot. Christine knows me well enough to know I would be pretty much the only photographer to walk the entire route, climb to the top of the garage to do some areal shots (who knew there was an elevator), and instead of picking and choosing from the list I was given, shoot everything on it. Not to mention have the days shoot posted before dinner.

Click on any photo on this page and you will find all my photos of the day. I did my very best to include everyone who attended.... but there was just so many.

There were several who stood out. I met children who came into this world at only a few pounds, adults who were polio survivors, and a college student and fellow photographer who walked the entire route even with severe difficulties of mobility. I was walking pretty quickly  to line up my shots and she caught up to me all along the way until she crossed the finish line, huge smile and hands in the air. I was so proud to have met someone with that kind of determination. The kind of spirit that will go a long way chasing the dream of being a professional photographer.

The Finish Line

Nova Southeastern University was the perfect place to hold this event. Parking was easy, the grounds are beautiful, and the green space easily held the enormous crowd. The weather could not have been better. It was great to see so many groups participating. Wave after wave of colorful, matching T-shirts. Decades ago when I last attended this event, I never dreamed I would be speaking to a little girl born 28 weeks premature. Well today I did just that and I can tell you it was an emotional moment. So many have contributed to this worthy event over the years and that support has paid off in lives saved. I fully expect to return for the 100th anniversary of this event to marvel at the miracles yet to be accomplished. 
South Florida Pirates