OK, last issue I talked about The Blues Train, and, yes, I’m a bit of a gunzel. I also have another secret in my past – scouting. Not the dyb dyb dyb type, I was in Sea Scouts, and got to play with some great and historic boats… but I digress.
Following from a Blues Train, how about a Blues Cruise? You have two options here, the Hygeia in Geelong and the Lady Cutler in Melbourne. There’s probably few readers who have not noticed the Hygeia moored at Fisherman’s Pier down the end of Yarra St. It’s actually the third Hygeia to run out of Geelong.
It’s probably best known for weddings and New Year fireworks cruises, but they also do regular blues cruises. The Hygeia has hosted gigs from a number of blues artistes – Dave Dorman, Andy Phillips, Mojo Corner and Doc White, just to name a few. She serves food and has a full bar. Corio Bay is relatively calm, and shouldn’t spill your drink – even when the music is rocking, the boat remains stable.
The first time I went on it, there was something strangely familiar about it, then I found the InCat logo and recognised it as being from Hobart. The cruise was great fun, and the music and dancing made it special.
I did an interview on the Hygeia for Pulse TV, which can be seen at https://youtube/N0MUtnmuqys
Up in Melbourne the Lady Cutler takes Blues Cruises around that end of Port Phillip Bay. She was the first of the modern Lady Class Ferries and was built to operate on Sydney Harbour.
I have to admit to having a soft spot for this class of ferry, as the Lady Wakehurst came to Hobart when the bridge went down in 1975, and got me back and forth to the Eastern Shore for quite some time back then.
The Lady is based out of Central Pier in Docklands, and runs four hour cruises. Billed as the Melbourne Showboat, she’s considerably larger than the Hygeia, with two decks and plenty of outdoor space to cater for up to 360 people.
That means they can put together a program with two stages and a greater number of shows. Incidentally, they cater for much more than blues, they also have burlesque, reggae and jazz cruises. Either way, I can testify that the combination of a great cruise, some refreshments and excellent music is definitely the way to spend some quality time.
One word of advice though, is to behave yourself while on the boat as being “shown the door” by a bouncer is a bit more of a problem when you’re out on the waves!
The next Lady Cutler “blues hip jive” cruise is on August 27, and features Andy Phillips & The Cadillac Walk, The Jackson Four, Tony J King and a “Rocking DJ” on the lower level of the boat.
Sleepy Hollow is organising a blues cruise on the Hygeia on October 8, band details yet to be announced.
Written by John Lamp
Image sourced via Hygeia Party Boat socials