Billy, as has been noted, was an avid SCUBA diver and seaman; today, he lives in Hawaii, although a certain part of that decision was certainly fleeing the mainland. He enjoyed the peace and silence, but mostly he enjoyed the chance to punch mer-dick. He would strike a worthy blow on a grouper’s cloaca, then expertly pick out an parrot-nosed octopus’ hectocotylus. Give the devil his due: Billy wasn’t just flailing around down there–he had actually become a decent lay-icthyologist.
He could never find a moray eel’s dick, oddly enough. This angered Billy and he once grabbed an eel and used it as a living bludgeon against the other members of his dive group. The people who run dive companies are all semi-crazed former Marines and they have little tolerance for rock star bullshit, and weren’t really Deadheads anyway, so that merited a talking-to that involved Billy getting the shit slapped out of him a little bit.
After that, Billy decided he needed his own boat. he turned to the boys at Alembic, who produced a prototype that cost $300,000 and actually burst into flames while still on the drawing board. It was literally just a drawing on paper at the time: it kind of freaked everybody out.
So, a Grateful Dead yacht was instead purchased and retrofitted to the band’s (mostly Billy’s) needs. This fit Billy’s pattern: in the early days of the band, he forced the others to replace the van (which was, you know: the van that the amps went in that everyone used and kinda owned) with a ’65 Mustang (which Billy would not let anyone use, and was a two-seater, and he crashed it anyway.)
So everyone pretended that the boat was for all of them. It was also figured that the boat could be tracked: this would be like belling the cat. Plus, as long as Billy was on the boat, he couldn’t be sneaking up behind people at the Captain America movie and laying his dick in their tub of popcorn.
The sloop (or schooner or a ketch or a submarine: TotD is not exactly Jane’s Defense Quartlerly over here) was christened the Scene of the Crime and put out for international waters with a full complement of Grateful Deads aboard.
Phil was not naturally seaworthy, and was in true fact utterly terrified of “Poseidon and his caprices,” as Phil put it: he was an awful passenger, never gaining sea-legs and always mildly nauseous, prone to projectile hurling all over people and them blaming them for it, for “smelling like salami,” he said. There had never been any salami onboard.
The worst is when the weather would kick up: you could hear Phil shrieking at the top of his lungs in time with the swells:
“BULLSHIT, YOU COCKSUCKER!”
“SUCK MY DICK, OCEAN!”
“YOU INANIMATE FISH-TOILET!
And so on: it wasn’t even that bad–the sun was poking through the clouds. Anyway, Phil wouldn’t stop shrieking, but then a super-intelligent shark leapt up and ate him, and there was Time Sheath technology available, so everyone figured they’d let that sleeping dog remain eaten by a shark for a little while longer.
Bobby–and I’m gonna be honest here–went a bit Billy Budd for everyone’s taste. Barefoot in the naval britches, the tugging at the forelock, the perching in the crow’s nest: it made people uncomfortable even in international waters. It seemed like there werre no waters international enough for that to be appropriate and Bobby was also fed to the super-intelligent shark, who by now had been made the band’s new manager and was in the process of stealing all their money.