A small yet jovial splinter group from the Occupy movement emerged in the glacial waters of Lake Merritt over the weekend. Calling themselves Aquapy Lake Merritt, the group built a large raft, armed it with supplies, and anchored in the middle of the small Oakland lake. They raised a pink and black banners declaring themselves and today's Port of Oakland closure. With shocking clarity, participant Colin Dodsworth, 28, explained to Oakland North the reason for the watery protest, saying, "People have gotten really apathetic and turned off by typical protests...it's important to do creative, exciting things that will get people talking."
Oakland North explains how they set sail:
On Sunday, in the predawn hours, the Aquapiers drove past Children’s Fairyland on the north side of the lake. They pulled over by the Lake Merritt Boating Center, a Parks and Recreation Department-managed boathouse. The building was dark and the docks were empty. They lowered the raft into the water and pushed it behind a grouping of trees, then went to work with cordless drills to erect the canopy.
As they were finishing around 5:30 am, a police car drove bay, slowed down, and then continued on. “We were like, ‘Let’s go,’” one participant said, and they pushed out onto the lake, raising high pink and black banners displaying messages like “Occupy Anything” and “Port Shutdown.”
What's most interesting, at least to us, is that the group didn't go through Occupy Oakland’s General Assembly red tape to approve their project, "but rather held their own meetings in secret" at a house in nearby Emeryville.
Check out this footage (shot by YouTube user addio33) showing Aquapy setting sail, drinking sparkling wine, and setting sail.