Monday, November 16, 2009

Storm Reveals Remnants of Local DJ's Dirty Dinghy

Ruth Reedy is used to finding odd items in her backyard when extreme high tides recede, but what she found Sunday disgusted her. "It was a long, toy of some kind", she laughs.  Ruth and others living next to Lynnhaven Bay in Virginia Beach found evidence of a wild party in their yards after the November Northeaster 2009 (NoNor09) - beer bottles, Phil Collins CDs, bikini tops, even a deflated inflatable woman.  "That scared me for a minute.  I started to call the police when I noticed she was fake and it had 'Property of THE BULL' written on her back in big letters."

According to Hampton Roads history buff, Flynnwood Tyner, the decadent flotsam was cargo stowed aboard Henry "The Bull" Del Toro's party boat better known as "The Barf Barge", "The Pontoongler", or "The Poop Sloop".  Henry "The Bull" Del Toro (1958-2002) was a local disc jockey in the 80s and 90s best known for his zany on-air pranks and habitual off-air debauchery.  In 1992, he fooled listeners into believing that long simmering toxic gases in Mt. Trashmore were about to cause a massive explosion.  Nearby residents actually evacuated.

The vessel has never been located, but Tyner believes it rests somewhere amidst the fingery coves of Lynnhaven Bay.  "The Bull wasn't great at maintaining a healthy anything - especially a relationship with a marina," he says.  "He'd get kicked out of one every other week for some reason or another.  Little Creek, Rudee Inlet, Willoughby Harbor, Waterside and all the others.  They wouldn't put up with his antics.  By the time it finally went missing sometime in 2000, he was hiding it in real secluded marsh areas. He'd run it aground, put some branches on it, walk through people's yards to Virginia Beach Boulevard, and catch a cab back to his apartment in Norfolk."

Tyner is in the process of drying out and deciphering what he thinks is one of the ship's log books.  "As far as I can tell, this contains a graphic description of the boat's itinerary as well as supply and passenger lists from March '88 to July '91.  He names names that include local car dealers, business owners, news anchors, politicians, Tidewater Tides - everybody seemed to be on that ship at some point.  There's even names of bodily functions I didn't know were possible.  Really weird ones that I've never had happen!" 

Here's an example of a typical entry:

"Saturday Aug. 12, 1989.  Sunny.  Left around 1:30 P.M. with 8 cases of beer, 2 cartons of cigarettes, a box of cigars, & lots of Zero's subs, chips and pretzels.  Me, Da' Moose, the new bass player for The Boneshakers (Steve something, I think), Les Smith, Mr. Oberndorf, Mindi, Cherri, Crystal, Tanya, Becky, plus Rebecca"

I'll skip what happened on the water, but further down, in real sloppy handwriting, it continues:

"back aft 4 A.M.  Les got sunburn on (illegible).  One cigartte left.  Where the (expletive) is Crystal!?!"

Former co-worker Mickey "Da' Moose" Musalotta doesn't recall that specific outing or what happened to Crystal, but he does have several fond memories of the party boat.  "We'd get a bunch of beer and girls and have strip fishing tournaments.  The Bull and I would already have a dead fish hidden in the cooler so we could pretend to catch it over and over again.  After an hour, all the girls would be totally naked!  They never suspected a thing.  Another time, The Bull, some of AC/DC's roadies, and I tied up one of the station's new interns to a buoy and left him there overnight!"

Musalotta believes the items churned up by the storm are definitely from The Bull's boat, but the chances that it still holds some valuable cargo are slim.  "Anything of value on that thing has probably seeped out of their baggies by now.  I bet some fish felt really happy for a few minutes...before their brains exploded!"