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Heavy Crashes Bud Light Port Paradise III: Day 3

How one would go about finding CocoCay on a map I really have no idea. It’s a small rocky island located somewhere between the Bahamas and Florida coastline. That’s all you need to know. Secluded and rustic, it was our final destination and truly the port of paradise on this cruise. After finishing breakfast we hopped on one of the ferries along with 100 or so other eager Bud Light passengers, ready for the biggest party this side of the equator. By now, nearly everyone was decked out in a piece of Bud Light apparel they had acquired over the weekend, giving the effect of an island settlement inhabited solely by Bud drinkers. Marketing in action.

The highlight of the day was of course going the afternoon concert, but on the island people had an array of activities to choose from. Being that we were in paradise with the kind of sandy white beaches only found on postcards, sun bathing and swimming were a natural choice for many.

A highlight for any sports fan was certainly the live taping of ESPN’s SportsNation with Colin Cowherd and the lovely Michelle Beadle. Watching the show on a tropical island adds a nice touch that is somehow completely lost when catching the “Cheers/Jeers/Tears” segment from the gym treadmill. With Auburn, Virginia Tech and Nebraska all playing in big games later that day, there was plenty to talk about.

Being a Vols fan without much to say in the matter, I cast aside my hopes of scoring a free t-shirt and followed a group of Bud Light promo girls who kept pestering me to check out the volleyball tournament. Okay, they didn’t have to pester me much; bikini models have excellent pitch skills. Pro volleyball players Jake Gibb, Sean Scott, Nicole Branagh, and Elaine Youngs were chatting and taking pictures with fans while offering tips on the perfect spike. In no time, two volleyball games sprung up with pros and shipmates joining in while others chose to take in the action from the shady comfort of a palm tree – with bucket of beer in tow.

I feel it’s worth mentioning one of the simple and fun activities people could do on the island was the beer bottle pyramid building challenge. Over the past two days,  together we had drank numerous  bottles of beer and before they were sent off to beer bottle heaven at the recycling plant they were put to use in bottle stacking competitions. Stacking two dozen bottles in under a minute isn’t as easy as you’d expect.

After finishing my last bite of cheeseburger for lunch, I took a final swig of ice tea and headed for the concert area. As I approached the growing crowd, I could hear the rapid riff of “Well Thought Out Twinkles” as the Silversun pickups launched into their set. While I think a good portion of the crowd was unfamiliar with the band’s name, they seemed to recognize a few of the bands singles – most notably “Lazy Eye”. They have the feel of a guitar driven alt rock band with a definite Smashing Pumpkins influence. Being a fan of the band prior to the cruise, I wasn’t left scratching my head wondering if this was the same group on my ipod. The vocals sounded strong and drum beats were in perfect step with the bass line.  In short, they rocked!

If you were unfamiliar with the Dan Band, like me, you have might asked yourself, “who  are these three guys dressed like a mechanic and philosophy professors taking the stage?” But that’s before they launch into their version of 50 Cent’s “Candy Shop”. The premier (and only) R rated wedding band from Old School and The Hangover they proved that if three pasty white dudes are gonna crank out a Salt-n-Peppa tune, they were without a doubt the masters.

As The Dan Band relinquished the stage to Nelly, the crowd seemed to nearly double in size. The St. Louis rapper descended upon stage with his entourage of other single named dudes to a roaring cheer from the crowd. Bottles raised up as Nelly spit the opening verse to one of his earliest hits “E.I.”, and a helicopter flew over the crowd and past the two massive ships in the distance. “Where was I? Was I in a rap video?” I thought to myself. All that was missing were some jet skis and bling.

I’d like to tell you that once back on ship I continued to party with Nelly, The Dan Band and Silversun Pickups in a whirlwind of models and Bud Light.  But to be honest, I was drained and pizza and a nap sounded more up my alley before the final fiesta of the night.

As the sea breeze blew across the deck of the final farewell party, I tried not to think about the impending winter weather that awaited me. The ship cruised through the night, bound for Port Canaveral on Florida’s eastern coast by morning. That wasn’t for several more hours though and there was still beer to be enjoyed.

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