This was such a fun event! Aaron built rigging to make our boat look like a small sailboat and we bought a bunch of outdoor LED lights. We were able to borrow batteries, an inverter, and extra lights from friends. Since we were both working during the week, we only had Saturday morning to rig all of the lights together. So, after drinking some coffee, we started working. Our boat has never had lights or electricity before, so to be compliant with all boating regulations, we had to first wire front and back lights to our boat. Then, we tested the batteries and inverter. After we knew everything was working, we packed all of our gear and headed to Christiansted. The mast was too tall to attempt driving under trees or power lines, so we had to hope everything went well in town. My office was approximately 1/4 mile from the boat ramp and we figured this would be a great place to put it all together. The parade was set to start at 6:00 and we arrived in Christiansted at about 1:30 with nothing ready. Time to get going!
Now, some of you may be wondering, how and what we would do with all the wires since our boat only has no dry compartments. A cooler was chosen as our battery box (should stay dry) and we chose to zip-tie a household power strip to the middle of the boat for all the lights. Aaron cut a pair of jumper cables in half and wired the boat running lights to the split wires. These wires were then connected to the inverter and were stored in our "dry box". Here is a picture of our redneck wired fiasco.
Well…. what do you know…. power lines and trees were in our way… again. Crap! Ok, what to do? Only had about 10 minutes to figure this out. We quickly unhooked the sail lights and ropes, pulled the mast out of its holder and laid it flat on the boat.
We were boat number 4 and the smallest boat in the parade. We were also the only hand built boat in the parade :) All of the boats were decorated, music was playing, and thousands of people were waiting along the water to watch. This was such an exciting moment! The entire day of working was definitely worth the adrenaline rush and holiday spirit. So many children and community members were anxiously waiting for the parade to begin. And to top it off, there was a full moon out! Amazing! Here is a picture of our boat in the parade. We didn't even realize that the lights on the side of the boat were making the water glow. As we drove by, Aaron exclaimed "Ho Ho Ho" and "Merry Christmas" to the cheering crowd. They loved it!
After the parade, we pulled up to the the beach on Protestant Cay to visit some friends and show their kids the boat. The fireworks began shortly after we beached the boat. Yes, thats right. Fireworks! So much fun!