It was an interesting assignment. One of the most intriguing of my 25-year newspaper/online media career.
Go on a speed dating boat cruise.
Sometimes, you have to take one for the team.
With butterflies, I signed up for what was to be the third of three sailings on the yacht Spirit of the Okanagan, a two-hour tour on Okanagan Lake called 7 Minutes to Social, hosted by Vernon-based company Carpe D’Wine. This was on the 50+evening (I’ll be 59 in 38 shopping days). There was to be a 30-40 and 40-50 evening the nights prior. Ten men, 10 women each night.
Women happily signed up, yes, but men? Men were hardly anywhere to be found (until the night of the sail). Hello, guys? Two hours on a lake, nowhere for anybody to run except overboard? Possibility of love? Ahoy! Er, oy!
So Carpe D’Wine’s fabulous hosts Shelley and Paula decided to make the most of things – one night, all ages, and gave those who signed up the option to attend or not. Even if you don’t make a connection, you might meet a new friend. And this was good enough for 19 people: 10 men, nine women.
I found it interesting that the music that greeted you at the dock beside Paddlewheel Park included Fleetwood Mac’s classic break-up hit Go Your Own Way, and Sam Cooke’s legendary Another Saturday Night (or in this case, Wednesday), where he follows up that lyric with, “And I Ain’t Got Nobody.”
We got the basic rules and welcome from Shelley, a glass of rosé, were greeted by the skipper, Capt. Dick, first mate Capt. Morte (literally a French word meaning ‘casualty’), and Sophie the yacht dog, and we went aboard the Spirit of the Okanagan, all in good spirits.
In speed dating, the idea is to have a man and woman at each table and ask questions of one another for anywhere from five to seven minutes, then move on to another table. I can see that working indoors with plenty of room for, say, 10 tables, but on the top deck of a yacht – Lido Deck? Promenade Deck? – under what started as sunny skies and great conditions, it may have been a little hard to pull off. And I think Shelley and Paula adapted well to the conditions.
Speaking of conditions, the weather changed in a hurry just past Adventure Bay, and an adventure truly began. Some, including me, had the Gilligan’s Island theme song in our heads:
The weather started getting rough.
Capt. Dick was still the boss.
If not for the courage of the Spirit’s crew,
Charcuterie would be tossed.
The lake was angry that night, my friends, for about, oh, 15 minutes. After the storm passed, the white-capped waves settled. Paula and Shelley (literally Ginger and Mary-Anne for Paula is a redhead and Shelley a brunette) had us try to play some dating games.
But most of the passengers were into a night of socializing, mingling, working the boat. Before we knew it, two hours had passed and, all of a sudden, we were pulling back into the dock at Paddlewheel Park.
It was a very fun evening, including the storm and the lightning show near Terrace Mountain (and “Lori,” if you’re reading this, there was no lightning!).
Were there connections made on that Wednesday evening? Perhaps. That’s the passengers’ business. Some may have had a line from The Love Boat in their head…
It’s an open smile on a friendly shore…
P.S. Carpe D’Wine is planning another mixer for the 30-50 crowd on Sept. 21, 5-7 p.m. Check out carpedwine.com for more information. Guys, this means you.
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