Posted on: March 30, 2013 Posted by: Cole Ruth Comments: 0

If cooking gets most of the airtime in these pages, it’s only because most of my sailing trips lately go like this: a few of us pile into my friend’s Catalina 34, take the sail covers off, start the engine, back her out, sail around the harbor, bring her back in, put the sail covers on. Only a sailor can read between the lines and know that the fact that nothing eventful happened means that we had a great day on the water. To anyone else, we just sat around staring at the water and the sky and feeling the wind on our faces for a few hours.

So it wasn’t until a friend wrote about one of my recent sailing experiences in her blog did I realize that I never wrote about it in mine. To be sure, the day I sailed with puppets was not a normal day – nor was it a normal sail. But lately I’ve been cooking with celebrity chefs, auditioning for cooking shows, attending tapings and taking part in so many other unusual activities, that I forgot how noteworthy this experience was.

How those pesky puppets got onboard
About a month ago, Amy, my friend who has the Catalina 34, called and asked if I could go for a mid-week sail. “Keith has got a premier that night, though, and he wants to come along. So we have to be back by 3:00,” she said. “Oh, and he’s bringing a friend.”

I arrived early and Amy and I got the boat ready. When four guys walked down the dock, I did not suspect they were “Keith and his friend.” They had camera equipment. And a heck of a lot of bags for a daysail. Then I spied Keith and we helped them all aboard. Amy and I were so eager to get off the dock, that we’d all barely been introduced when they began producing puppets out of their bags.

The premier that Keith was involved in that night was for a new show called Shark Bites, so he brought along a few of his friends – and they brought their furry friends. Oddly, these are not the first puppeteers I’ve ever met. So I was not entirely caught off guard when they started talking in quirky voices and moving around the boat with large hairy creatures on their arms.

I gotta say, though, I’ve never been in the company of puppets quite like these. One of them took part in the filming of the Ben Folds video… or.. wait… maybe it was the puppeteer and not the puppet… But you see why this all gets kinda murky. The large blue puppet you see pictured above was made by the same guy who made puppets for Jim Henson. Little did I know, but taking this very pricy puppet on a boat was risky business: it would have been the death of him had he gotten wet.

Live vicariously
The video
 will give you a sense of what it was like – trying to hide the humans from the camera, letting the puppets have a turn at the wheel, watching them and their antics as one hurled over the side and the birds “pooped” on the poopdeck and the puppet in the sombrero sang songs about hanging out at Home Depot.

After the guys posted their video, I had my sister show it to my nephew on one of our weekly Skype talks. He’s a wannabe pirate/sailor like his aunt. When the video was over, he looked up at my sister, a pleading look in his eye, and said, “Again.”


If you want to see more puppets, you can see Keith and his Shark Bites gang live on April 9th.

Featured photo – photo credit: Amy.