photos by Tod Seelie
Our gang arrived at Jamaica Bay, Queens and unloaded our freshly painted, sparkly, golden water dragon catamaran, and loaded it with ammunition, drinks, ice, fruit, and six Vuvuzelas (plastic African horns). We clothed ourselves in matching gold sequined swimwear. Bronze body paint, gold glitter and shimmering liquid gold fingernail polish was applied. We were the dream team, golden all-stars and we dragged our boat into the bay and headed toward the circle of speedboats in the distance.
We approach the battle atoll (circle of boats)
We arrive to the battle
Approximately thirty minutes later I found myself in the middle of riotous assault. Water splashed furiously in my eyes as pirates and foes thrashed all around us trying to board our craft and steal our ice chest of treasures. We fended them off with oars and blasted Vuvuzelas in their faces but they would not relent!
Mayem at Mau Mau
Pirates try to steal our treasure chest of drinks and food
Paddle away! Nathan hollered and we began to retreat. Moments later we received an onslaught of balloons filled with green gunk. A shock of disgust and delight hit me alongside the head and green gunk oozed in my hair. This was war.
Full-out boat brawl
Attack of the ooze-filled battle bombs
“We’re under attack!” I cried! “Slingshot!”
We grabbed our holi bombs and shot off one color cloud at a time. Nathan is a good shot and one of the things hit this poor guy in the eye. It was purple pigment and gave him an instant purple shiner.
We blast off a flour bomb
The Skull Eaters make their way to the battle atoll
Skull Eaters arrive with a giant knife
The madness continued and I watched it all in a sort of slow-mo drama. There was so much to take in. A long watermelon boat made rounds offering people watermelon and shooting them with squirt guns, the crew was dressed in plaid and wore hats made of watermelon on their heads. Another platform with a little shack built on it floated around making people coconut drinks. There was a grass boat, an inflatable hot dog boat, a grass boat, a car boat, trash boats, and so many other inventive crafts.
Coconut shack boat
A bar built inside an abandoned tug boat by Duke Riley
Pirate pontoon boat
I left the battle atoll the following afternoon after crashing in one of the speed boats. I was smeared with war paint, covered in bruises and had green glue glommed into my hair. Battle for Mau Mau Island was a day to remember and quite possibly the best party I have ever attended. I can’t wait for next year!