This was the year…the year we would actually be in town for the San Pedro Holiday Boat Parade! All of us (Dooley Bear included) were so excited to be able to participate this year!
We had all of the essentials needed to design and create an amazing boat float: a boat, a dream, a creative attitude, a sponsor (Thanks, Dooley Bear Adventures!), $500.00 in LED rope lights and lots of free time.
Here is the tale of the great boat float construction of “Marlin Christmas” – which ended up winning First Place!!!
AKA: The only marlin that’s ever been in our boat
It all started with the design, what should we have on our float?
Ronnie immediately came up with this fantastic design:
A marlin, bigger than our boat being reeled in by a fishing rod measuring over 20 feet tall. After realizing the rod would be 17 feet taller than our boat, and taking into consideration the stability of the masterpiece, we came up with version 2.
Ronnie used his engineering brain to create the fish out of PVC and drew up the design:
One of our shopping lists:
The design was genius and included a head and a tail that moved!
With our plan and shopping list we headed to town to start buying the pieces. A golf cart can double as a truck, right?
Construction was divided into 5 phases:
Phase 1: The Base
Phase 2: The Fish
Phase 3: The Sign
Phase 4: The Lights
Phase 5: The Final Assembly
With most of the materials in hand, we began Phase 1 of construction: The Base
The idea was to create a super stable base that we can re-use every year!
Dooley Bear was being as interested and helpful as always.
Once the base and legs were finished it was time to take them out to the boat to customize the fit.
The front of the base:
And now the back –
Wondering where Dooley Bear was?
Now that the base was ready, it was time to return the pieces to the garage and begin Phase 2.
Lisa putting our truck to good use.
Time for Phase 2: The Fish
We decided that the best place to construct the marlin was inside of our condo.
Why? Well, it’s air conditioned, has zero bugs and is close to the beer and vodka.
We had a chop saw sitting in the middle of our condo – did you know that cutting PVC inside of a condo makes quite a mess?
First step was to create the body.
We were able to create the shape using PVC 45 degree angles.
But the fin? Ronnie used a heat gun to warm up the PVC until it was pliable.
Now just to make a marlin head and attach it –
Next we bent and attached the tail (oops – no pictures!)
But here’s another picture of Dooley Bear pitching in:
Once the fish was complete we glued most of the connections (they are serious when they say to “use in a well-ventilated area!”) and then added bolts for extra security. We were able to store the completed marlin in our neighbor’s garage (Thank you Tom and Karen!)
Phase 3: The Sign
Time to create the sign. We wanted to be sure everyone knew our fish was a marlin (just in case it didn’t end up looking like one!) so we came up with our name: Marlin Christmas.
We used more PVC, glue and bolts to make the structure and then Ronnie used LED rope lights to write the words.
We had this sign hanging in our condo for almost a week. Anytime we wanted to feel like we were in Las Vegas we would plug it in.
Ok, the base, fish and sign are complete.
Now on to Phase 4: The Lights
Ronnie planned out the path for the lights to go and we began to string them on and attach them with zip-ties.
And then the blue lights – we had a longer nose on the marlin, but we would have run out of blue lights, so we chopped a couple feet off of his nose to ensure we had enough lights!
Before moving on to Phase 5, we needed to run into town to pick up our number. We got lucky number 9!
We also knew we were going to be docking at the Sandbar Restaurant after the parade so wanted to check out the dock. Since the dock is brand new there aren’t any cleats installed yet, and the deck boards are all very close together (great for walking but not easy for docking a boat). So, Ronnie did some research and found a super cool way to bring your own cleats to a dock! He found them for sale in the states, but not here in San Pedro.
We ran into town, found the exact metal pipes he needed and he made them! Wanna make your own? Click here for the step by step instructions!
The morning of the boat parade had finally arrived and we could now complete Phase 5: The Final Assembly.
Our friends Doug and Sheryl, Dawson, Doug II, Aaron, and Mr. Charlie as well as security guards from Grand Caribe all pitched in to ensure the assembly went well.
They paraded the marlin through the grounds at Grand Caribe and then out to the dock.
And look! Dooley Bear was actually helping! He was telling them, “Walk out to my boat. That is where the marlin is going!”
With all hands on deck the marlin was carefully transferred to the boat and all legs were inserted and bolted tightly.
And just like magic, we were ready for the boat parade!
Well, kind of like magic.
We are estimating that we each put in at least 50 hours of work into the float. (And that EXCLUDES Dooley Bear and all of the other helpers that we had.)
But it was fun work!
Doug, Sheryl, Dawson, Doug II and Aaron joined us for the parade – we were so thankful to have the extra help. They were the best puppeteers and did a fantastic job with the marlin movements!
We were instructed to arrive at 5:00 to start lining up. Of course we were super punctual and were the only boat out there for quite some time.
But while we waited, we were treated to a kiteboarding Santa Claus!
As the sun set, the other lighted boats began to arrive.
Once the parade began, we all drove slowly south past the judges.
When Dooley Bear heard we were getting close to the judges, he put on his reindeer ears…..he was ready!
And then, he went back to sleep.
After the parade, we docked at the Sandbar to await the results.
The Mayor of San Pedro made a great speech about how great our community is and then Joe Chung took the microphone to announce the winners.
We coudln’t believe it, but the judges voted Marlin Christmas the best boat of the night!
We won a bunch of gift certificates and $1500 bze!
We even got a picture with Mayor Danny.
And then the entire crew got a picture:
We had the absolute best time desiging and constructing our marlin! We are grateful to be rewarded for all of our hard work by winning, but we didn’t do it to win. We participated in the boat parade because we love our community and wanted to make this the best Christmas yet! To see the smiles on everyone’s faces as we drove by on our boat was priceless. And that is why we did it!
For a great video and more photos check out AmbergrisToday.com
More great pictures can be seen at SanPedroScoop.com
Thanks so very much to all of the organizers for their hard work – we will see you next year!
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