‘Well you’re dirty and sweetBang a Gong; T Rex (Marc Bolan) 1971
Clad in black don’t look back and I love you,
You’re dirty and sweet, oh yeah.
Well you’re slim and you’re weak,
You’ve got the teeth of the Hydra upon you
You’re dirty, sweet and you’re my girl…’
Halloween looms large around the world. It has only really taken on in South Africa in this new millennium as a celebration (if you can call the stirring of ghouls, ghosties, and the dead of the underworld a celebration), and the ‘Trick or treat!’ beloved of the American youth is now squawked into intercoms, doorway post flaps and open windows around the civilised world. The murky origins of All Hallows Eve are subsumed in inventive costumes and dentists rubbing their hands in delight as they hear the munching sounds of juvenile teeth on sugary treats fill the ether.
Halloween is very much on our mind here at Waterfront charters this year, as we prepare for an invasion of … sea monsters. It’s not only banshees, zombies, Casper the friendly ghost, devils, witches and other landlocked spirits that are called forth on Halloween – those evil ocean based denizens of the deep are also stirring, and their direct destination on the 30th October is the Sea Princess, our double-decker party-orientated luxurious catamaran. We have some assistance in this gathering of the masses: the MCQP, in conjunction with Cape Circuit Collective, are hosting a Sea Monster Party to end all parties, and the attendees are all invited too dress up as imaginatively as possible in their scariest sea monster attire. It’s a five hour seagoing event that has a veritable host of attractions to keep the monsters at play, and we can’t wait to cast off the mooring ropes and summon the underworld.
MCQP, or Mother City Queer Project, which started in 1994 as a highlight on the Cape Town gay calendar, has grown into South Africa’s biggest dress-to-theme party attended by all sorts of fun-loving creatives from all over the world. It comes as no surprise that they would choose a Waterfront Charters vessel to host this, the latest in their phenomenal events. There are plenty of snacks, top DJ’s spinning non-stop sounds, Go Go dancers to show you how to do the Monster Mash, a Drag host (natch!), and plenty of delicious drinks served by muscled barmen who, to quote the MCQP, are not shy to display these assets. But hopefully the stars of the show will be the guests: if ever a theme lent itself to creative thinking, the Sea Monster Cruise is it. We anticipate tentacles aplenty.
Need some advice? At Waterfront Charters our skippers have special handbooks detailing potential encounters with various Sea Monsters; how to recognise them and what their weak spots are. The list is rather long, so for the sake of brevity we will leave out the obvious monsters (like Moby Dick – that’s just too easy, given the circumstances) as well as those that are impossibly large to emulate, like Aspidochelone, a giant sea turtle that pretends to be an island and then munches the sailors that land on her back. Not fair at all, we suggest. The Devil Whale is another island-emulator, although he will simply swallow boats whole if they ignore his mooring points.
We love Charybdis, the personified (monsterfied?) whirlpool on the Strait of Messina. Now there’s a challenging costume, although her swallowing of huge amounts of water three times a day then spitting them out again could be a tempting cover for more bibulous guests. Opposite Charybdis is Scylla, who lived under a rock on the other side of the narrow strait. A beautiful nymph turned into an evil ugly creature by a jealous goddess (who else?), she loves nothing better than feasting on passing sailors. ‘Between Charybdis and Scylla’ was the precursor to ‘between a rock and a hard place’, and sailors in the days of Odysseus would be hard put to navigate a safe passage through the narrow strait.
How about Bakunawa? This Philippine sea serpent causes eclipses, earthquakes, wind and rain, and can be recognised by a looped tail and a single horn on his nose. A little creative thinking and this could be easily copied, but creating eclipses might need some work. For the ladies who join the party, we recommend the Sirens as role models; now these were some badass creatures. Their enchanting songs lured smitten sailors to their deaths on the nearby rocks. Old Odysseus (who was pretty much an expert on these things) had himself tied to the mast while his muffled crew rowed past. Legend has it that he was humming their tune for months afterwards.
Then there is Lusca, a giant Bahamian cuttlefish, or a half dragon, half octopus, depending on who you believe. She munches divers and swimmers, so could happily relocate to Clifton. Lusca sounds like the Kraken’s little sister; the Kraken being a legendary sea monster of gigantic size and cephalopod-like appearance from Scandinavian folklore. Probably have to downsize that costume to get aboard the Sea Princess, given that the Kraken’s tentacles could wrap around galleons and frigates as she pulled them down to Davy Jones Locker to nibble on at leisure.
But our favourite monster is the Hydra of Lerna; a terrible serpent that ‘had poisonous breath and blood so virulent that even its scent was deadly’, and it lived at the entrance to the Underworld. A many-headed beast, chopping off a head did no good: two grew back in its place. (Burning the neck works, according to our ‘How to Deal with Monsters’ handbook. Bring a BIC.)
A little research will turn up many more frightening sea monsters, but if all else fails, invent your own. A little imagination goes a long way, but most importantly, Waterfront Charters and MCQP are looking for every guest on the Halloween Sea Monster Cruise to have non-stop fun. Booking is exceptionally easy on the website: just look for the scary pictures and keep clicking – but do it soon. It’s the party for every fun-loving person in the city on the 30th October – regardless of persuasion – so don’t miss out!