Afro-Caribbean Boat Cruise


There is something about a cruise that is exhilarating. It might be the open air and freedom of being on the water, the breeze that so easily carries on and on, or the music and chit-chat that drifts among people. This years’ summersplash was compounded with a boat cruise on Harriet Island in downtown St. Paul.

The day was hot and humid and the night cruise was a welcome excursion. While the boat personnel prepared themselves to board people waiting anxiously, the Mezesha Entertainment crew busied themselves setting up their music equipment. There was idle talk as everyone eagerly awaited to start the evening. As the sun slowly set, the downtown St. Paul skyline materialized as bright lights -red, green, orange- shone above the skyscrapers. With the lights around the boat lit up too, the night appeared open to anything pleasant.

Shortly, we begun boarding the huge padelford riverboat. It was nice and cool inside with the air conditioning on. Upstairs on the deck, though humid, the scenery was breathtaking. The Mississippi River, on which the cruise was taking place, was endless. Everything seemed alive; the buildings downtown, the cars driving by on the highway, the trees moving against the warm winds and the river flowing, dark and glassy.

As the boat pulled off Harriet Island, the anticipation to begin the cruise had reached its peak. We drifted slowly down the river as soul music from the seventies, eighties and early nineties "rocked the boat". Out on the open deck, the swish swash sound of the river as the boat sailed, entwined with the night sounds. Lights from people’s homes along the river pierced through silhouetted trees. The night was magnificent.

Back inside the cool boat, Dj Dan had taken over from Cape, and was now playing African music which consisted of Lingala, Zouk, Sokouss and Genge. After getting myself a cold drink from the bar, I headed out to the upper deck where Dj Xpect and Hustla were contributing to the night sounds with some reggae and dancehall music. The warm breeze felt wonderful and I couldn’t help smiling. Three hours later we docked back on Harriet Island. This was definitely the right way to the end the summersplash week.      


About Helen Kinuthia

Helen blogs on the Minneapolis nightlife and entertainment scene. You can read her entries here.

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