For boaters, Aquapalooza is the place to be

Posted 7/27/15

If you combined Bristol on the Fourth of July with Woodstock on the water, you might get the idea of what Aquapalooza is all about.

On Saturday, July 25, hundreds of watercraft converged in Potter's Cove on the northeastern edge of Prudence …

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For boaters, Aquapalooza is the place to be

Posted

If you combined Bristol on the Fourth of July with Woodstock on the water, you might get the idea of what Aquapalooza is all about.

On Saturday, July 25, hundreds of watercraft converged in Potter's Cove on the northeastern edge of Prudence Island for a somewhat organized annual event that brings boaters together for a day of fun on the water.

In the weeks leading up to the event, social media sites such as Facebook lit up with messages from those who are eager to make the trip to the otherwise quiet Portsmouth island. The page, Aquapalooza Rhode Island, is filled with comments from first-time visitors who want to know the best time to go, what to expect, and if it's appropriate for children.

On the water, a mass of boats, many 'pontooned' together, tied up side-by-side, could be seen from as far away as the tip of Poppasquash Point. Once inside the cove, the variety of watercraft, the diversity of activities and the camaraderie of fellow boaters creates a festive atmosphere and a spectacle of people just having fun.

"It's a great day for bikinis," said Victor Mancini of Warwick, watching boats — and their swimsuit clad occupants — float by.

He, along with Christopher Greco, Michael McMann and Shirley Monahan, arrived early in the day aboard Mr. McMann's 26-foot O'Day sailboat for their return visit to the event. They welcomed a first-timer to tie up to their sailboat for the day, illustrating the friendliness that participants shared.

Nearby, a disc jockey set up his booth atop Oar Yeah!, a boat whose stern identified it as being from Bullock's Cove in Barrington. Throughout the day its occupants entertained the seafaring masses, while further along the cove the band "Wayz and Means" played live music from another boat.

Barrington resident Tim Cummings, dressed as children's book character, Waldo, drew cheers and applause as he rose out of the water and into the sky aboard a flyboard, using redirected water propelled from the jets of his jet ski to lift him 10 feet into the air. A small aircraft flew low over the boaters, also drawing cheers, as a steady stream of inflatable rafts, tubes, kayaks and other floating vehicles drifted through the sea of boats.

"Do you have any beer?," asked one young woman whose inner tube was part of a line of inflatables being towed by a jet ski. Her question was repeated to boaters along her way until someone finally complied with a beverage for her.

The anticipation of Aquapalooza was illustrated on Facebook the day before the event as one poster shared his feelings.

"Feels like the night before Christmas," he wrote.

For Mr. McMann and his crew, who are familiar with the area having sailed from Warwick into Bristol for the Fourth of July parade and other activities, Aquapalooza won out this year over the folk festival held at the same time in Newport.

"The water is nice and warm and clear," Mr. Greco said. "It's a great day with beer and food and good friends."

That, it was.

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