Serendipity is defined as a “happy accident” or a “fluke.” While I don’t really like the terms “happy” and “accident” together, I have to agree that sometimes unplanned, unexpected things do bring joy. Such was the case of our dinner Friday night. Thanks to serendipity, we were aboard the Perdido Queen in the Mobile River.
The Perdido Queen paddleboat is a new tourist attraction for the Mobile Gulf Coast area. The Orange Beach based vessel was invited into the port of Mobile just three weeks ago following the permanent docking of the Gulf Coast Ducks. Social media has a way of introducing people to things and after seeing the ads and thinking about it, I sent the link to Mark.
Mark and I are quite different and he is not a planner. He works shifts and we try to eat lunch together one a week when he is off. Instead of our planned lunch on Friday, he bought the tickets on Thursday for the Friday night cruise. For him, that’s planning. We didn’t mind that it was dinner instead of lunch this week. We rushed down when I got off work and loaded the Perdido Queen.
The owner, captain and the captain’s wife (who served as waitress, bartender and photographer) were very friendly and personable. Each of them and another crew member did everything they could to make our voyage comfortable and memorable.
The 2.5 hour cruise included live music and dinner catered from one of Mobile’s signature restaurants, Dauphin’s. The views of the cityscape were beautiful and the river was calm. Being the nerds that we are, we turned the maps on our iPhones just to see exactly where we were on the river. This helped us take note of the river islands that we knew nothing about! The husband and wife duo on the top deck provided music that covered a range of styles and decades. It was a perfect soundtrack for the evening.
I am sure that later in the year when the days are longer and it’s not dark at boarding time, the cruise is perfect. I can imagine that the sunset on the river just adds to the ambience; however, our cruise was wonderful. Unless you travel the river, you may take the shipping industry for granted. As the paddleboat glided upriver, we realized the magnitude of the various shipyards in Mobile and witnessed their finest at work.
Alabama has now joined a laundry list of states who offer riverboat cruises. I see it as fitting for any large port city, but especially for one with a 300-plus year history. I still mourn the loss of the Gulf Coast Ducks because it was an affordable, educational excursion and great for entertaining out of town guests, but the Perdido Queen is impressive in its own right.
We definitely did not plan for our weekly lunch to turn into a dinner cruise, but I am glad that it did. We were able to support a new venture and the beauty is this—I get to share it with anyone who reads this column.
Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching. So is Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and likely some wedding anniversaries. I highly recommend making the reservation that will make someone’s day, even if they weren’t planning on cruising the river.
I am not one for surprises or changes of plans, but I am thankful for a little serendipity when it shows itself. As the river philosopher Mark Twain wrote, “Twenty years form mow you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade wind in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Make the reservations and enjoy yourselves!
Weekly columnist. Feature Writer.