Lamma Festival

The Lamma Ladies were so excited about the first Lamma Festival! We did photo-ops and enjoyed helicopter rides with our sponsors, Heliads (Who are so cool. Who else has helicopters to fly around in before their big races? Does Donald Trump have a team of dragon femme-bots yet? We LOVE Heliads!); and we posed and preened and wore Pink!

And while, that was all grand and glorious, our weather forecast looked like this:

We lie: The weather forecast didn't look like that for two days. It looked like that for eight days.
We could have lived with the weather reports, after all - for 7 days solid the observatory was wrong. We did not have thunder and lightening and gale-force winds. We did not have sheets of rain falling every day (though rain did fall at night).
We did, however, have a Red Tide. I mean, is that fair? Red Tide?
Nevertheless, the Lamma Ladies were still so excited and so dedicated about the race, that we spent 2-3 hours on Saturday morning (June 9), wading in that lovely red-tide up to our necks, pulling litter our of the sea (approximately 4 large bin-bags full of sodden plastic bags, old netting, bottles and chip-bags and other flotsam and jetsam. In addition, Gina would like someone to buy her dinner since she picked up the floating condom with her bare hands. Failing that, she would like an AIDs test).
Please do not mistake us: our beach is sometimes littered by jerks who drink and smoke and drop their rubbish on the shore, but the sea-litter is something different and is really only genuinely bad when there has been lots of rain (at night!) to wash it in from the Pearl River Delta (well that is what we think, anyway).
It wasn't pretty work, but the shoreline was 100% better and after our work, looking out into the surf, we only could only see that freaky remarkable red tide - which by then we'd become accustomed to - and clear water.
So off we went to bed that evening, with visions of Pink Championships dancing in our heads.
Alas, many of us awoke at 4:30am, to the crackle of lightening and the HK Observatory sending out Amber rain warnings. After a few phone calls to the Observatory, we were assured that the rain warning and the thunderstorm warnings would be down by 7 and 9am respectively.
So we were cheered by that. After all - the whole week had gone that way: rain at night, calm by day. But it was not to be.

Everyone of the 55 teams arrived to the beach to compete. And everyone of those 55 teams managed to have one race. And then the really bad weather blew in.

Calm before the crazy-ass storm.

Lamma Ladies prepare for their first race.

By 1pm, the conditions had become too dangerous to continue. Lighting was in the air again, the sea had whitecaps at the start-line, and the steersmen and safety crews were shaking their heads. Even the surf at the shore had swelled and was swamping boats as they tried to launch.

As disappointed as we were, the Lamma Ladies are not the types to whinge and whimper. We'd rather flutter our eye-lashes and make farting noises at each other for kicks. So we closed up shop. We took down the marquees and sent home the teams and boats, and eventually, we got dry and went and drank wine and ate seafood (which -truth be told, looked a little red).

Then we cheered each other for all the work we'd done. And we cheered Brad, and Mark and Kevin of Thirsty Horse for killing themselves to get the race started. And we cheered everyone who had helped on the day.

Then Brad and Mark and Gina went and found Amy and the fishermen, and we drank more beer, and toasted each other until we could not see or stand or walk in a straight line. And in a funny way, we were still almost happy. Because we know it was a brilliant venue and will soon be a brilliant race.

And the Lamma Ladies are still excited. After all, 1,200 paddlers came to our house for a party. Sure we got busted by the hand of an evil, wrathful (and clearly male) god; but he's going out again real soon and when he does, we are going to burn down the house.*

It will be fantastic.


Next stop: Cheung Chau Races, June 17th and Stanley, June 19th!

* "burn down the house" is a metaphor. It is not a threat on the safety of Lamma, paddlers, competitors or mean and wrathful gods.

MIA: Lamma Ladies comments!

It's been a crazy couple of months for the Lamma Ladies.

After our fantastic 7 Deadly Sins party, the team went on to race at Tin Hau and Deep Water Bay. So that kept us a little busy.

Vicky waving to her fan club.

Lamma Dragons (mixed team). Dawn's hair is getting
the most action here. It's BIG, it's flying!

The littlest paddler: Sai Bee's grandson learns the ropes.

At Deep Water Bay, the Lamma Ladies returned in force to do things completely differently this year. Instead of T-boning the other teams, as was our unofficial game plane in 2006 (thanks Frazer! we miss you!), we decide to move everyone around in the boat, not practice our changes much in advance of racing, and generally take the piss since we are all so brilliant and strong.

What is the first rule of competition? DON'T CHANGE ANYTHING.

Did we remember this rule? NO.

Did we pay for it? YES YES YES.

Well, we paid for it with a bronze medal. It's not like we got slapped around or anything, or - heaven forbid - "blown out of the water" - as one rubbish media outlet would bizarrely mistake the event (top three ladies teams all crossed the line point-naught of a second behind one another).

And were we PINK that day? We were amazingly pink. We were so pink that our new shirts ran dye and left behind boats full of bright pink water. You'd think we planned that our something...

Lamma Ladies and assorted progeny at Deep Water Bay.

Racing neck and neck - look carefully: do you see any explosions?

At the end of the day, the races were brilliant, and the Ladies worked hard to prepare for their next HUGE race, The First Lamma International Dragon Boat Festival. And what were the results of this brilliant, exciting, "oh-my-god-i-need-to-go-pee-i-am-so-excited" event.

Well hell, didn't you read that already?