Pirates invaded Portage des Sioux, MO in 2010 for the annual Blessing of the Fleet on the Mississippi River.  The decorating theme for 2010 drew a larger crowd than usual, I guess everyone wanted to be a pirate, or is a pirate at heart.  The Blessing of the Fleet takes place at the Our Lady of the Rivers Shrine in Portage des Sioux, the shrine was built in the late 50’s to honor Mary, who the townspeople believed saved the town from a 1951 flood.

In addition to watching from the shrine, spectators can view the boat parade which leads to the Blessing from many points along the river. I gathered up my crew of scalliwags and we set sail on the Mighty Mississip’ with plans of joining the boat parade as it was starting to head downstream. The first mistake was joining the parade early, as this somehow caused me to end up near the end of the parade group as other boats joined in front of us. The second mistake was joining a boat parade when my boat doesn’t have a head.

We launched from John’s Boat Harbor in St. Peters, MO and headed downstream.

Ready to set sail!

We made our way downstream, and downed a few Rum Runners on the way, and met up with the boat parade. Everything from Jon Boats to Houseboats were heading downstream towards Portage.

The drunkest pirate of them all, Double-Blind!

The line of boats stretched as far as you could see both in front and behind us.

We weren’t the LAST boat in the parade, but we were definitely near the end.

This guys boat NEEDS a blessing to be out in the Mississippi on a day like this.  The wakes from the larger boats were bouncing him around all over the place, he soon pulled away from the parade and made his own route downstream.

He had room for a cooler, or a friend. He chose wisely.

As expected, the Missouri Water Patrol was out looking for troublemakers. I saw them pull one guy out of the parade right in front of me, I don’t think his registration sticker was up to date and valid. He was in a Baja with Captain’s Call also, so he was drawing a little more attention to himself than other boats.

Missouri Water Patrol was out keeping an eye on things.

After two hours of cruising at 7MPH we finally arrived at the Our Lady of the Rivers Shrine and Sol Amarillo received her blessing.

Our Lady of the Rivers Shrine – Portage des Sioux, MO

The boat that inspired the 2010 theme, the Gypsy Rose, was of course present.

Gypsy Rose – The original pirate ship on the Mississippi, now she resides at Lake of the Ozarks.

After a two hour cruise where most of my crew was drinking, I was about to have amutiny on my hands if I didn’t find a bathroom for them quick. We pulled into the nearest marina, tied off, and then we enjoyed lunch at Longshot Saloon.

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