The Inauguration: One Cruiser's Unique Vantage Point

| January 23, 2009

Not everyone who watched Obama take the oath of office was shivering on the National Mall.

The inauguration of Barack Obama was cause for celebration in Washington D.C., across the country, around the world, and aboard SeaDream II as she anchored off Jost van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands.

Only a historic moment in America's history could have torn me away from the sun-drenched white sand, clear blue waters and gentle breezes of the beach where SDII's zodiac wet landing had deposited me an hour before -- but even as I applied my SPF 30, I knew the yacht's gala inauguration party was in full swing back on board. My conscience registered that experiencing this moment in history would, in the long run, be worth far more than a glorious tan and the buzz of a couple of rum-infused PainKillers at the famous Soggy Dollar Bar.

So I and a handful of other sun-worshipping Americans tore ourselves away from our beach chairs and waded into the gently-lapping surf for the five-minute, butt-drenching zodiac ride back to the ship. After a quick change of clothes, we entered the Salon.

A riot of red, white and blue balloons surrounded the giant screen upon which CNN's coverage of the Washington D.C. festivities played out to us beach bums. An all-American buffet spread of hamburgers, hot dogs, fried chicken, sandwiches and french fries, garnished with American flags, waited to be devoured while a giant sheet cake -- dressed up to resemble a sweet version of the Stars & Stripes -- rested nearby. An "Obama 2008" bumper sticker was beneath the display in case someone, somehow, missed the point.

As the moment of our 44th President's oath-taking drew near, SeaDream's handsome waitstaff -- some with small American flags peeking out of their shirt pockets -- circulated through the room, pouring champagne into our flutes to toast the hope and change that the televised event symbolized.

Among the millions around the world who watched the inauguration on TV, I've no doubt the vast majority wished they too were in the nation's capitol, absorbing the electrifying atmosphere firsthand. But not us aboard SeaDream II. Coated with sunscreen, we watched the 3 million spectators bundled up against the cold, shivering despite their scarves, gloves and ski parkas. We sipped our champagne, chomped on our hot dogs and knew there was no place we'd rather witness history unfold than aboard SeaDream II, anchored off the pristine beaches of Jost van Dyke.

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