I hadn't realized it, but boats are apparently the Thing at this company -- most of upper management have their own boats, and the 21-foot powerboat we were on today is one of the smaller ones. But that's okay: it constrained the party to the five of us, which meant that it was probably both more fun and more productive than a larger gathering would have been.
To my mild surprise, it was at least moderately productive. It was a day of stepping back from the details, and brainstorming pretty wildly about the next release. I won't claim that we spent all, or even most of the day talking about business, but things kept veering back on-topic, and I think we collectively wound up with a clearer idea of what needs to be done in the near term, and who is doing it.
Most of the day was simply out on the water, though, and was very relaxing. We started in Newburyport (David lives in Amesbury), and basically wandered up and downriver from there. We circled Plum Island, went out onto the ocean for a little while, swam in the river, and finished off with a round of tubing. Lunch was at Michael's Harborside, which makes a solidly good burger.
Bad: Greenhead flies. Evil, evil little creatures, omnipresent around the marshes and frequent elsewhere. David described them as essentially deerflies with scissors on their noses, and the stings seem to fit that description. Need to remember Skin-So-Soft next time I'm out on the water in these parts -- according to David, it's the only thing effective against them.
Good: tubing. Somehow, I'd completely missed this particular activity before. It's basically lazy man's water skiing -- you sit in a big inner tube with handles, and hang on for dear life as the boat goes swooping around, dragging the tube behind. A roller-coaster grade ride, flying back and forth as the tube jumps over the boat's wake. A bit hard on the butt, but a ton of fun -- must do this again sometime.