Last Thursday evening ~225 high-tech businesspeople, both local and from away, clambered aboard the MV Thomas Laighton for a 3-hour cruise. After a year's hiatus, this was the triumpant return of the eCruise, our yearly floating eBrew. Despite the fact that I was on the planning committee for this excursion (full disclosure), I am happy to report that the eCruise was a resounding success! Many beers and businesscards were exchanged with a backdrop of pretty views and refreshing ocean breezes--what better way to spend a nice summer's evening?
We departed a bit later than we expected (about 5:55PM) but we had to get our sea-legs under us right quick. In past years, we were content to stay in the harbor, hug the coastline, or even go up river, which disappointed the more adventurous eCruisers. But this year, our captain announced at the outset that the seas were calm, so we'd be heading straight out to the Isles of Shoals. We soon found "calm" to be a relative term, with eCruisers stumbling across all 3 decks, surfing from chairs to railings to poles for support as the steamer chugged out to sea at a steady clip, ignorant of the waves and the mostly landlubber crew.
Once we arrived our our destination, though, we lingered leisurely along the rocky crags of Appledore, Smuttynose, and Star Islands. I overheard many remarking that they had never actually been to the Isles and what a treat is was to finally see them up close. The return trip was steady-as-she-goes, with a pretty sunset lighting the way. (See more pictures on Flickr and Facebook.)
Thanks To: All of our sponsors, but especially Chris King (pictured) of SEEDA for being not only the major sponsor but also opening his tab for yours truly and several other grateful folks. This was SEEDA's party and we were all along for the ride.
Cool Factor: Off the Wall handed out multi-color-glowing name tags, which quickly became the most coveted tchotchke onboard. These trumped the early favorite Pokens, which were cool but made a late appearance.
Nice to Meet: The Off the Wall folks, Pam from BBJ/MHT, Rebecca from Global Technical Talent, and everyone else. What can I say, it was a good crew!
Surprise Hit: I don't eat fungus, but apparently the sausage-stuffed mushrooms (courtesy of Galley Hatch) were knocking everybody out.
RIP: The lens cap to Melanie's Canon Rebel XTi, knocked overboard and lost at sea.
Loved: The nifty tote bags, emblazoned with the eCruise logo and all the sponsors.
Raffle-osity: How does one guy win three (3!) major prizes, including the much-coveted Netbook? I call shenanigans! ;-)
$: Financially, the trip was solidly in the black for the Chamber, thereby ensuring the eCruise will return next summer.
Programming Note: There will be NO AUGUST EBREW. But if a few folks wanted to meet at the Coat for pint night, I'm always up for that.