2016 Trinidad Carnival – Silent Morning

2016 Silent Morning 30

Greetings peeps, Kermit here preparing to take to the high seas with Silent Morning, the ultimate Trinidad Carnival boat ride. This Carnival Friday morning party has been a must-attend event for many years and it is the perfect way to kick off the Carnival weekend.  Silent Morning began as a cooler fete on a single ship and has now expanded to two ships one of which is still a cooler boat with the other being drinks-inclusive.  Everyone gets breakfast at the pre-boarding warmup though and this is where I will pick up the commentary this morning.

I arrived at the Pier 1 parking lot to discover that an area in the corner of the lot had been fenced off and tented and here was 2016 Silent Morning 28where the Silent Morning breakfast was being held. The area is essentially a large square with a huge tent in the middle with tables and chairs arranged underneath while around the perimeter of the square the different breakfast choices, the DJ tent, and an ice distribution tent (more on this later) were set up.  There were many breakfast choices available for patrons and because there was a lot of space available they were spread out nicely thus avoiding the unfortunate crowding and confusion that took place the year before.  The music was jamming, the patrons were streaming in and getting tucked in to some breakfast, and folks were preparing themselves for the seagoing odyssey that was about to begin.  The skies were overcast and rain was forecasted for the morning but even the 2016 Silent Morning 73showers that hit during breakfast couldn’t slow the vibe that was building and in fact it even served to increase the wildness in some of the more excitable patrons.  In Trinidad rain only stops cricket so when the water started falling some patrons sought shelter under the tents, some danced and wined in the rain, while we just broke out Jello shots and said cheers to the weekend.  As I had mentioned earlier, one of the Silent Morning vessels was a cooler ship and typically coolers with no glass bottles would allowed on board but this year would be slightly different.  This year the ship designated as the cooler ship, the Treasure Queen Too, was new to Silent Morning and they were not allowing coolers on the ship.  Liquor would have to be carried on board in bags and ice would be provided free of charge on the ship as well as in the ice tent in the breakfast area.  When boarding was announced this new wrinkle caused some last minute hustling and organizing and this did complicate the boarding process but as is always the case with hardcore Silent Morning patrons, we took it all in stride and made the best of the situation.

After boarding, my crew and I immediately grabbed a strategic spot on the second level of the ship along an outside rail (for breeze) and a wooden tabletop (for mixing drinks) and resumed slamming Jello shots and alcohol syringes. While the email sent by Silent Morning management described the Treasure Queen Too as a newly renovated boat, the reality was far from that.  It might have been newly renovated right after WWII and recently repainted but its facilities were seriously lacking and were definitely not up to the high standard that we had become used to for Silent Morning and indeed soon after the party, management emailed a letter to all patrons acknowledging the vessel’s shortcomings and apologizing for the conditions aboard the Treasure Queen Too.  I will not flog a dead horse by recounting these shortcomings but suffice it to say patrons can rest assured that in order to maintain Silent Morning’s traditionally high quality, management has resolved to be even more vigilant with respect to future events and will take more stringent steps to ensure that the vessels procured are delivered shipshape and exactly as contracted.  After the trying boarding and even more trying Cobo-sweat pre-launch moving of folks from the top floor to the lower floors, the Treasure Queen Too finally weighed anchor and pulled away from the dock and SILENT MORNING WAS ON!

2016 Silent Morning 79As I have said many times about Silent Morning, this fete is not for everyone. It takes a special type of person to be a hardcore SM feter but once you are, this fete is like the air in your lungs and who can do without air for very long.  An SM feter comes to the fete prepared for anything and will adapt to whatever situation presents itself, and not just adapt but thrive!  This year despite the rain that fell, despite the less than ideal boarding experience, despite the run down facilities on the ship, and despite the long wait to depart, the hardcore SM crew present didn’t bat an eye.  We took it all in stride because we knew that once the Treasure Queen Too left the dock, we would make up for all the stress by feteing that much harder and peeps, so said so done!  Let me give you an example of what I mean by hardcore SM people.  I have witnessed some of this myself and have had similar stories related to me over the years but this is what happened to me and my crew this year.

My crew and I were some of the first people to board and as I said earlier we snagged a prime spot on the second level and we spread out. About halfway through the boarding process three young ladies, upon seeing some railing space in the middle of the spot we had settled on, decided to use that space as their base.  Noticing this, we looked at each other quizzically for a second and upon realizing that they were newcomers to Silent Morning and as such probably didn’t know about proper railing etiquette not to mention the level of shenanigans and wildness that this particular crew will get into once the ship sails, we decided to politely have a chat and explain this to them.  We explained that we had already staked out this spot and while it looked empty now, our crew was large and once everyone was present we would occupy the space that they were currently in.  They said that this was ok with them and they really liked this spot and wanted to stay.  We politely explained that we are “not normal people” and as a matter of fact some of the crew are “even more not normal” that the rest of us and we cannot be held responsible for the madness that was highly likely to occur amongst and all around us.  We let them know that they were more than welcome to remain where they were but if they decided to stay, we would then consider them to be a part of our crew 2016 Silent Morning 103and as such they would be expected to participate in whatever wildness presented itself.  They smilingly agreed so we said a small prayer for them, cracked open the drinks and started drinking for effect.  I decided to roam around for a bit and upon my return (around 30 minutes or so) the party was in full swing.  The group of three ladies had now expanded to include a few more ladies plus a fellow or two and so far they looked like they were doing ok but I knew that it was early and my crew hadn’t yet hit 3rd gear.  I made another round of the ship and when I returned I immediately saw that my crew had hit 3rd and was about to shift up to 4th.  What gave it away you ask?  The 3 foot diameter by 3 foot high inflated mushroom that had sprung up in their midst gave it away!

Apparently the “even more not normal” 3G members of the crew had inflated a mushroom which they brought with them and were using it for ice storage but they weren’t done as when I walked up they were inflating mini mushrooms to complete the set. HA, I thought, now the newbies would begin to see what we were trying to warn them about and while they did have a peculiar expression on their faces while witnessing this spectacle they seemed to be talking it all in stride.  Hmmm, these noobs 2016 Silent Morning 332might be  SM material after all but it was still early and if I knew my “even more not normal” peeps, they still had a few more tricks up their wife beaters that had not yet been revealed and of course I was proven right when the Elder G broke out G-Shark!  G-Shark was a large inflatable Grey Shark and once inflated it wasn’t long before it made its way from hand to hand cruising all around the ship causing havoc and wild hilarity wherever it went.  Initially I tried to follow it to document some of its adventures but I couldn’t keep up and for the rest of the fete I would bounce it up intermittently as I wandered around.  Upon returning to base camp to refill my drink, I saw that there were more inflatable toys and I decided to embrace the horror and join in the madness.  These new inflatables were two “floaties” that were designed to fit around one’s waist with a Giraffe and a Toucan on the front.  I snagged the Toucan and with it secured firmly around my waist I roamed the decks secure in the knowledge that should it become necessary to 2016 Silent Morning 503abandon ship, this would provide me with all the flotational powers of a boneless chicken roti.  Before I wandered away though I checked on our newbies and they were very impressed with Mr. Toucan and they happily posed with me and tried to give him drinks.  It was while watching them try to give a Toucan floatie a drink that I realized that Silent Morning Hardcore now had several new members as their entire crew had now meshed fully with mine and were getting on bad with us like we’d been partners for years.  Everybody was hugging, sharing drinks, shots, laughs, wines, and good times and peeps, THIS is the magic that happens at Silent Morning every year.  If you come with the correct attitude and leave all inhibitions and biases behind, you will have a blast and are guaranteed to make new friends.  On the surface we had nothing in common; they looked to be much younger that we were; they weren’t Trinis; plus we’d never met or even seen each other before. At first glance they looked fairly timid and not the SM sort but looks can be deceiving and while they didn’t initially strike me as folks who would embrace our level of winery, they definitely went there with us all the way down and back.  MAGIC!

Silent Morning attracts people of all ages and from all different walks of life and draws them into a melting pot on the sea and when everyone is all mixed up and swirling around with the right infusion of alcohol, music, and vibes, it forges bonds between its willing participants, bonds that last long after we return to our lives outside of the ship. THIS is why Silent Morning is a must-go event and THIS is why its hardcore attendees patiently endure whatever hiccups may occur because we all know what is going to happen on that ship once we are loose on the high seas and we all want to feel that MAGIC again and again and again.

Enjoy the pics peeps, Kermit out!

 2016 Silent Morning 314

One day, this will all seem like a long time ago so savor the moment and remember that life is not a race but rather a stroll from the beach to the rumshop and back.






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