Beached Fishing Boat, Ceylon

Beached Fishing Boat, Ceylon


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Beached Fishing Boat, Ceylon

This picture of a beached fishing boat on Ceylon shows the unusual 'banana' shape with a very high bow and stern. This resembles a common artistic representation of medieval warships, often dismissed as inaccurate.

Many thanks to Ken Creed for sending us these pictures, which were taken by his wife's uncle Terry Ruff during his time with No.357 Squadron, a special operations unit that operated over Burma, Malaya and Sumatra.


The Birth of John Rybovich & Sons

In 1919, John "Pop" Rybovich started his small commercial boat repair yard when he moved from commercial fishing to servicing the boats of the early commercial fishing fleet of the Palm Beach area. The West Palm Beach yard quickly gained a reputation for its skill and attentiveness, and as the sportfishing concept of the 1930's grew in popularity, Pop and his three sons, Johnny, Tommy and Emil, were at the center of a new industry converting the power cruisers of the nearby Palm Beach elite to chase Sailfish just outside Lake Worth Inlet.


Historic pound fishing along the New Jersey shore

In simpler times, a rugged group of fishermen once hauled fish from elaborate traps placed off the beach on the New Jersey coastline. They caught just about every type of fish that swam into their system of weirs and nets.

They were called pound fishermen.

When a large fish, like a bluefin tuna was captured in their trap, sometimes nearly all the townspeople went down to the beach to have a look.

And sometimes, when they hung their nets out to dry with bits of fish still stuck to them and the wind was right, the townspeople wanted to shut their windows and head for the hills to escape the odor.

"Pound fishing was putting nets offshore," said Fern Klebold, an historian of this era of fishing.

Most people know of Klebold from his book "Pound Fishing: Bay Head South to Seaside Park, N.J." It's the only book on the history of pound fishing in New Jersey that he's aware of.

The first pole was placed ½ mile from the shore, starting the weir — or barrier. Fifteen poles were then set at 75-foot intervals completing the weir. When fish swam along the shore and hit the weir, they would turn and swim out to sea to the pound. The pound is circular trap of 17 poles.

The pound fishermen would then either row, or motor out when outboard engines became available, and lift the pound net to bring the fish to the surface. It would then take a team to lift and scoop the fish out until the boats were full.

Then they would head back to the beach where a team of dray horses on a pulley system were waiting to pull the boat up on the sand where the fish would be off loaded into baskets. In later days, tractors were used to pull the boat.

If it was a good day, they would make two or three trips to empty the pound net.

"The seamanship was kind of outstanding because you came in with a boat load without any freeboard at all on the boat," said Kris Anderson, whose father owned Crest Fishery in Beach Haven Terrace, one of six pound fisheries that operated on Long Beach Island.

Freeboard is the distance between the waterline and the gunwale in the skiffs used in the pound net fishery.

The skiffs were typically 33-feet long and built of white cedar and oak.

"You would lay there outside the bar and circle and circle. They always called that 'pigging the slats,' meaning you'd see seven big waves come in and you waited to get right behind them before the next big wave came in. You'd ride that last sea right up onto the beach," Anderson said.

A capsized boat could mean the loss of a day's catch, or worse, in the case of a tragic incident that occurred in Seaside Park.

"I came home on the school bus one Friday and saw a big fuss down on the beach and when I got down to my house, I lived on 22nd Avenue in Seaside, I found out that a boat had turned over in the surf and they had lost one man, maybe it was two, I can't remember," said Ron Brower, who worked the pound boats in the Seaside Park area.

Anderson, Brower, and Klebold were together as part of panel of speakers on a pound net fishery program hosted by the Ocean County Historical Society on May 7.

Also speaking was John Kleva whose father ran United Fisheries in South Seaside Park, Bob Carlson, whose father owned the Manasquan River Fisheries and Phil Hart, who was born in 1923 on Long Beach Island and may just be the oldest-known living person to have worked in the pound net fisheries on the island.

His family's roots on LBI go back to his great-grandfather, who came to Beach Haven after fighting in the the Civil War. When Hart was a kid, he started in the fishery making fish boxes.

At 91, and using a walking cane for balance, he still remembers the joke the older fishermen would play on the kids at meal time. "They always put mustard on the bottom of the plates so when the kids went in there to pick one up, we got mustard all over us."

Hart stayed on almost to the end, leaving one year before the fishery closed in the early 1950s.

"It was a great life, healthy. And the people, the fishermen were the greatest guys you ever wanted to meet," said Hart.

The pound nets fisheries on the beaches operated from around 1875 to 1962. Capt. Stewart Cook started his operation at Sea Bright in 1875, and 1962 was the year the Manasquan River Fisheries closed.

They were the last boats out of that inlet.

"They were some of the most self-sufficient men you ever met," recalled Carlson.

Carlson's father set his pound nets from Spring Lake south to Point Pleasant Beach. In one year, they hauled in 3,625 pounds of tuna, 6,700 pounds of butterfish, 209,069 pounds of tinker mackerel, 50,000 pounds of mackerel and 138,000 pounds of whiting.

During its heyday, the owners of the pound nets could make a considerable profit. In 1913 the Spring Lake Fish Co. in South Seaside Park listed an income of $79,974.42.

The fishery operated from the beach to the train. The train would then transport the fish to the bustling cities. According to Klebold, the most fish ever transported filled 20 rail cars and went to Jersey City.

"It was the money on the island," said Anderson.

He said two things ended the pound fishing era: World War II and draggers. "During the war, prices went up for all the gear — prices went up sky high but the fish prices did not follow."

At the same time, the amount of fish they caught was dwindling. He attributes it to the draggers that began operating over the same grounds as the pound netters.

"The draggers went up and down the beach dragging their chain on the bottom and ruined the bottom. They tore everything up, the grasses so that was the demise of pound fishing," Anderson said.

According to Kleva, if one were to dig deep enough into the sand in South Seaside Park, they would most likely find the remains of cotton netting used by the fishermen in their pound nets.


History

“It was the 1951 edition [of The Log From the Sea of Cortez] that I grabbed in 1969, and with which I have been intrigued ever since. I realized then that a person could, with their friends, go to a remote place, and do real science while having breathless adventure. My 10-year-old self, in my mind, traveled with this band of characters on what Joseph Campbell, who was heavily influenced by Ricketts, would later describe as a “hero’s journey.” In 2015 it was definitely my subjective, 55-year-old self that purchased the boat that took Steinbeck and Ricketts to the Sea of Cortez, the Western Flyer. The boat and its history mean more to me every day.

John Gregg
Founder and Director of the Western Flyer Foundation
Read entire article, An Explanation of Why I Can’t Contribute to This Narrative, published in Journal of the Southwest, summer 2020.

Since that remarkable six-week voyage to the Sea of Cortez, the Western Flyer become an icon of American literature. Some say that it is, perhaps, the best-known fishing boat in history. This fame didn’t happen overnight. Sea of Cortez wasn’t a bestseller. Word of the book spread from person to person among those who’d been touched by the story and resonated with it. It’s not a book that people forget easily. As time has passed, the collective memory of the book has grown, along with the legend of the boat.

But what of the boat’s eighty-year history outside of its voyage with Steinbeck and Ricketts? This knowledge is changing as people hear that the boat is still viable, and they step forward with their own stories about the Western Flyer. History, after all,is made of different versions of events. It is never quite true. Like Napoleon Bonaparte said, “History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon.” That view of history differs little from legend.

The Western Flyer was built in 1937 in Tacoma Washington as a state-of-the-art purse seiner to fish for sardines out of Monterey. The builder was Martin Petrich, Sr., owner of the Western Boat Building Company. Petrich would co-own the boat with fisherman Frank Berry (aka Bertopeli) and his son Tony, who was to become the boat’s skipper. The Petrichs and the Berrys were Croatians from the island of Hvar with a strong fishing tradition.

Martin Petrich was a builder of fine boats. The boat wrights laid a fir keel. They sawed and shaped the stem and stern, and bolted the pieces together. The rib cage was made of white oak. Fir planks for the hull were steamed, fitted, and spiked into place. Fir decking was nailed to the stringers, and the deck house was fastened. The boat was launched in July 1937.

Tony Berry fished for sardines on the Western Flyer out of Monterey until the fishery collapsed in 1946-47. Berry said that he sold the boat in 1948, although as early as 1945,the U.S Coast Guard listed Western Boat Building as the sole owner. After Western sold the boat, it was registered to Armstrong Fisheries out of Ketchikan Alaska from 1951-52.

In 1952, a Seattle fisherman named Dan Luketa, bought the Western Flyer. Luketa was also of Croatian descent. He was a hard working, innovative, and skilled fisherman. Luketa converted the boat to a trawler and fished the deep waters off the coast from Oregon to British Columbia for Pacific ocean perch, Petrale sole, black cod, and Pacific cod.

In 1960 the Soviets and Japanese started fishing for Pacific ocean perch in Alaska, and were working their way down the coast as the northern populations crumbled under the intense fishing pressure.

Luketa, had already seen the writing on the wall. In 1963-64 he chartered the Western Flyer to the International Pacific Halibut Commission to conduct an extensive trawl survey of the west coast He observed the large amounts of king crab that were coming up in his nets along the Alaska Peninsula. Some crabbers fishing out of Kodiak were making a lot of money. By time the perch fishery collapsed, Luketa had converted the Western Flyer for crab fishing,changed the name of the boat to the Gemini, and headed north to the Aleutian Islands. When the king crab stock in the Aleutians started declining in abundance, Luketa decided that he needed a bigger boat to fish offshore, and he sold the Gemini in 1970.

At this point, the story of the Western Flyer gets a little murky. But here is a sketch of the situation. The Gemini was registered under the ownership of Whitney Fidalgo Seafoods from 1971 to 1974. The boat worked as a salmon tender. In 1971, the boat grounded on a reef in SE Alaska and was nearly lost. In 1974, the Japanese fishing company Kyokuyo bought Whitney Fidalgo. About the same time, the Flyer’s ownership was transferred to Citicorp Leasing Company for ten dollars. Citicorp apparently leased the boat back to Whitney Fidalgo. Whitney Fidalgo often entered into partnerships with fishermen in 1976, skipper Clarence Fry bought the boat, although Citicorp was still registered as the owner. He tendered for Whitney Fidalgo, and fished for crab and shrimp. In 1985 Kyokuyo sold its ownership of Whitney Fidalgo to Farwest Fisheries. The Flyer was bought at auction in 1986 by Ole Knudson and his father.

When I visited the Western Flyer in drydock at Port Townsend back in August 2012, there had been a constant stream of visitors ever since the boat had arrived. A picture of John Steinbeck was pinned to its hull as if the vessel was the casket at his wake. For many readers of Steinbeck and Ricketts’ Sea of Cortez: A Leisurely Journal of Travel and Research the Western Flyer represents a deeply personal symbol—adventure, freedom, camaraderie, or perhaps even refuge. John Steinbeck planted a vision of the boat in our minds and it took root in the primal subconsciousness, like a familiar rhythm, smell, or sound—something Steinbeck called “a sea-memory.”

Kevin M. Bailey
Writer, Man & Sea Institute

And now the wind grew stronger and the windows of houses along the shore flashed in the declining sun. The forward guy-wire of our mast began to sing under the wind, a deep and yet penetrating tone like the lowest string of an incredible bull-fiddle. We rose on each swell and skidded on it until it passed and dropped us in the trough. And from the galley ventilator came the odor of boiling coffee, a smell that never left the boat again while we were on it.

JS & ER

Apparently the builder of a boat acts under a compulsion greater than himself. Ribs are strong by definition and feeling. Keels are sound, planking truly chosen and set. A man builds the best of himself into a boat—builds many of the unconscious memories of his ancestors.

JS & ER

In 1990, Knudson reported that the boat was in pretty bad shape, but he intended to restore it. The boat was a salmon tender that bought fish at sea and delivered them to the cannery. Bob Enea, nephew of Tony Berry, had been searching for the boat. In 1986, he located it in Anacortes through the boat’s call sign WB4044. Along with Michael Hemp of the Cannery Row Foundation, they attempted to buy the boat from Knudson, but they were rebuffed. Finally, Knudson offered to sell (by now the boat had retired and served as a channel marker and Loran Beacon), but their finances fell short, and the boat was purchased by Gerry Kehoe in January 2011. Kehoe, a real estate developer, was involved in renovating some buildings in Salinas. He announced that he would restore the Flyer and install the boat in a hotel he was planning, using the boat—floating in a moat—to accessorize a café in the lobby.

The Western Flyer, still named the Gemini, was moored under the Twin Bridges near Anacortes. In January 2011, it was a sorry-looking sight: the boat was streaked with rust and the deck was covered with blue tarps. Then in September 2012 a plank in the hull ruptured and the Flyer sank. Two weeks later, and worse for wear, it was refloated. In January 2013, it sank once again. This time the boat remained submerged for six months. Finally, in June 2013 she was raised from the bottom and towed to dry dock in Port Townsend. The Flyer looked like a ghost ship, caked with mud, and bearing sun-bleached wisps of hairy filamentous seaweed.

In February 2015, a marine geologist named John Gregg, who has had a life-long interest in Steinbeck and Ricketts, bought the Western Flyer. Gregg,employing the talents of shipwright Chris Chase, is currently in the process of restoring the Flyer.

Some have said they have felt a boat shudder before she struck a rock, or cry when she beached and the surf poured into her. This is not mysticism, but identification man, building this greatest and most personal of all tools, has in turn received a boat-shaped mind, and the boat, a man-shaped soul

JS & ER

The Western Flyer hunched into the great waves toward Cedros Island, the wind blew off the tops of the whitecaps, and the big guy wire, from bow to mast, took up its vibration like the low pipe on a tremendous organ. It sang its deep note into the wind.

JS & ER

Perhaps it is Steinbeck’s “sea-memory” that proponents of the Western Flyer look for in their own dreams. The mind has grown boat-shaped. They want for the sun on their faces, the rhythm of the swell, and a stiff ocean breeze to hear the Flyer hum its deep note to the wind once again.


The Weirs Train Wreck Laconia NH

On August 12, 1900 about 12 30 pm The worst freight wreck which ever happened on the White Mountain division of the Boston & Maine railroad occurred just above The Weirs Two men were killed almost instantly and four more of the trainmen were seriously injured, while two locomotives were demolished -and twenty or thirty freight cars and their merchandise piled up into a confused heap on the track.

The accident was said to be caused by conflicting orders issued to the crews. The north-bound train was the regular express freight and the down train was an extra with orders to pass the regular at Lakeport.

The trains came together, with terrific force, On one side of the track was a high batik of rocks, while on the lake side was another steep bank dropping down to the waters of Lake Winnipesaukee. Both locomotives were demolished by the impact, and the care attached to each were piled up in a hopeless tangle, so blocking and tearing up the roadbed that until late Saturday night the line could not be reopened to traffic.

The scene pf the accident was visited by thousands of people on Saturday. The huge locomotives were telescoped together, while the freight cars and their contents were piled ground the spot in almost hopeless confusion. Some of the cars were reduced to kindling wood, and the ground was covered with their contents, including lumber, pulp wood, canned goods, barrels of beer, dressed beef, chickens and vegetables.

Wrecking trains were upon the scene early in the morning, but-the track was not cleared for traffic until late Saturday night, as the narrow cut around the curve where the accident took place made the process of removing wreckage a slow job. The train service was interrupted during the day, but passengers were carried around the wreck in teams and a few trains run in both directions. it to estimated that the financial lose of the accident was aggregate $75,000.

So great was the force of the collision that the locomotives were simply welded together, and then the forward cars, impelled by the momentum, jumped onto and over them in a wild game of leap frog, stripping them of all their top works and transforming them in a twinkling from powerful -machines into heaps of junk. When it was all over a car loaded with potatoes was resting on the back of the north-bound engine, and in cleaning up the wreck both were pulled away together.


Willow beach history

Back in the 70’s willow beach featured a Motel, General Store and Boat Ramps. It was the secret destination for those that knew about this unique get away spot on the river.

From artifacts found along the Colorado River, Willow Beach might have been a prehistoric trading center. The Basketmaker Indians from Lost City started camping at Willow Beach around 250 B.C. For a while, only the Amargosa people, from the areas to the west, came. Possibly by 750 A.D., the late Basketmaker people were visiting the area again. Sea shells, steatite, and asphaltum from the Pacific Coast were traded for salt, pottery, textiles and other items from the interior. After 1150 A.D., the Shoshoneans mainly camped at Willow Beach.

Paiutes were in Black Canyon area in 1858 when Lieutenant Ives brought his steamboat up the Colorado River.

Before Davis Dam, Willow Beach was a well-known fishing camp on the Colorado River, and even today the trout fishing is unsurpassed in the cold waters below Hoover Dam

Today the motel is gone and Willow beach has been completely renovated to include a new larger general store, bigger boat docks and a large camp ground. Be warned that camping during the summer months will be very hot and prone to big thunder storms and flooding.


Beached Fishing Boat, Ceylon - History

3 Zulu drifters beached at Foulis Storehouse (2 masts each)

Interpretation panel by Evanton Fund Raising Group at the Storehouse

see also the following links:

Canmore (aerial photographs including of the fish trap by the storehouse)

Hopeman History (details of the development of the Zulu fishing boat)

Down to the Sea (Chapter 5 Herring Fishing) - An account of life in the fishing villages of Hilton, Balintore and Shandwick by Jessie Macdonald and Anne Gordon [1971]. Online version hosted by Ross and Cromarty Heritage Society.

National Army Museum - The Zulu War (1879). The fishing boat was developed in the same year as the Zulu War and took the name accordingly.

Later photograph by J. Nairn of the wrecks in 1950s (see further at Am Baile)

The boats at Foulis

"When the season ended in the autumn the men returned home. It is said that the boats were hauled up on the bank with the help of a threshing machine and taken down again the same way the next year but it was more usual for them all to go together to Foulis or Pollo so that all the men were available to help with the beaching." (Down to the Sea, Chapter 5)

". the only visible remains of large-scale herring fishing on the seaboard are a few rotting hulks still to be seen just below Foulis" (Down to the Sea, Chapter 5)

Why were the boats left to rot? This is what they found at Findhorn Bay:

"There appears to have been no single factor in the development of the Findhorn Bay boat graveyard. Suggestions that the boats were abandoned at the start of the war are probably an over-simplification of a more nuanced change in the herring fishery. Pre-war photographs appear to show abandoned vessels on the shore, indicating that redundant vessels were already being left on the sites of the winter safe haven prior to the outbreak of hostilities, probably as the wooden boats ceased to be profitable in the face of emergent steam drifters. With the war commencing in 1914, it seems likely that the active fleet joined the discarded vessels in their usual winter haul out, while post-war the loss of life and major social change as well as the new maritime technologies rendered the old fleet of wooden sailing boats unviable." (SCHARP ShoreDIG: Findhorn Bay boat graveyard Data Structure Report, June 2017)

QUICK SURVEY & PHOTOGRAPHS (2020)

In addition to the boat mound there were at least 80 separate timbers within 100m of the storehouse (June 2020)

Stone and seaweed covered boat mound

Planks of one boat (50m from storehouse)

[Zulu drifters were mainly built in carvel manner]

Large timber with iron braces

[The Findhorn Bay project found that most timbers were oak and larch]

Scattered timbers (paper marks each one)

Scattered timbers - with metre measuring stick (paper marks each one)


The Balboa Pavilion

In a letter, dated September 20, 1905, the War Department in Washington granted Newport Bay Investment Company permission to construct and maintain a building for purposes of a “boat-house, bath-house, and pavilion” with 210 feet of water frontage.

The Pavilion was built by a group of promoters. The promoters recognized Balboa’s potential as a seaside and bay recreational area. They formed “Newport Bay Investment Company” in the early 1900s “to formalize their vision.”

The Balboa Pavilion was constructed by contractor, Chris McNeil. Just five years before, McNeil had built the red sandstone courthouse in Santa Ana. The Balboa Pavilion is recognized for its long sloping roof line and ornate Victorian cupola at its crown.

During construction, the Pavilion could only be reached by boat or, with great difficulty, on a sandy road. However, construction of this wooden Victorian design building was fully completed on July 1, 1906 to coincide with the completion of the Pacific Electric Red Car Line which began at or near Pasadena, wound down through Los Angeles and Long Beach and ended in central Balboa. Further, the nearby Balboa ocean pier was concurrently constructed as a sister project to the Pavilion to attract land buyers. Lastly, the Balboa Hotel was rapidly built in just ten days to coincide with the opening of the red line.

When the rail line opened on July 4, 1906, nearly one thousand beach-goers took the one-hour train ride on the red cars from Los Angeles to enjoy the beach, Pavilion and pier.

Suddenly, the empty, barren sand spit previously designated as “swamp and overflow” land (today called the Balboa Peninsula), became an accessible destination for summer holidays. People from more congested areas on the coast began to flock Newport. People began to purchase property in the area. Rows of flimsy beach cottages sprang up nearby. The Newport Investment Company’s plan, which included their $15,000 investment in the Pavilion, had worked. According to one source, they recouped their investment by selling lots within the first year of opening the Pavilion.

Later that year, the Balboa ferry service commenced which connected the Balboa peninsula with Corona del Mar.

All of the above helped secure the future of the Pavilion.

The original building consisted of a large 8,000 square foot meeting room on the second story and a simple bathhouse on the first floor where people could change from street attire into outfits called “Bathing Suits.”

Sometime between 1910 and 1920, for a period of five years, the post office operated from the Pavilion. Further, there was a barber shop which employed an infamous barber called “Lucky Tiger Jack.” He was so named by the locals because he was always drinking his Lucky Tiger hair tonic.

Regarding the post office, according to Phil Tozer, the only way to get from Newport Beach to Corona del Mar by car was on a dirt road that went around the back bay, practically into Santa Ana. Therefore, the Pavilion served as a mail station for mail that left there by ferryboat for Corona del Mar.

Shortly thereafter, yearly Fourth of July bathing beauty parades brought large gatherings of people to Balboa. The contestants would parade around Balboa and return in front of the Pavilion for contest judging.

In the early 1920’s, bathing suit rentals were a thriving business. Also popular were boat rentals and sight-seeing excursions. The Pavilion continues to offer these same two activities today.

In 1923, the Pavilion underwent remodeling making it more suitable for dancing.

By 1928, sport fishing boats began operating out of the Pavilion.

The 1930's ushered in the Big Band era. On weekends at the Pavilion, you could listen to Count Basie, Benny Goodman, and the Dorseys. Phil Harris and his band played regularly on weekdays. The dance step called the "Balboa," with variations sometimes knicknamed the “Balboa Hop” and/or the “Balboa Shuffle” originated at the Balboa Pavilion and swept across the United States. According to Bette Tozer, it was more of a hop than a shuffle. “You go ‘bong, bong, bong,’ hop. It’s the beat.” According to dance expert and instructor, Joel Plys, "the dance of Balboa [had] numerous forms. The ‘hoppier’ version is similar to Collegiate Shag. There was a very smooth/shuffly style that was very popular back then and today."

Maxi Dorf in 1942 / 17-year-old Maxie Dorf

Photographs - Courtesy of Joel Plys

Admission to the dances was free, but couples who used the roped off dance floor had to pay for the privilege to dance. Ticket hoppers posted at several locations sold nickel tickets. Each time a dancing couple stepped on the dance floor, they would give up a ticket. After the completion of each music number, the dance floor was quickly cleared by opening up the ropes. Then the ropes were put back, and dancers would again have to use another ticket to dance. Due to the structural weakness in the building back in those days, the “jitterbug” was prohibited.

Photo - Courtesy of Joel Plys

The popularity of dancing at the Pavilion lead to the building of the much larger Rendezvous Ballroom a few blocks away. With the opening the the larger, nearby, waterfront Rendezvous Ballroom which attracted the big name bands and larger dance crowds, the Pavilion’s dance era declined. Nevertheless, the Pavilion owners still staged walkathons and dance marathons to attract Depression era crowds. During this same time frame, gambling was legal. The Pavilion had several upstairs and downstairs card rooms were patrons could play blackjack, penny roulette and other card games.

Until the late 1930s, speedboat rides, which defied all sensible boating rules, thrilled inlanders with roaring trips up the bay, out into the Pacific Ocean and back. At that time, there was no speed limit in the bay (Today the speed limit is 5 miles per hour). Two speedy 35-foot boats, the “Queen” and the “Miss California,” each carried eight to ten passengers. They would take off full speed from underneath the Balboa Pavilion with sirens blaring and race out of the bay and into the Pacific Ocean.

White speed boats behind the canoes.

Also, during the 1930s, a 45-foot boat called the “Magic Isle” provided sightseeing trips. At night, this same boat would leave the Pavilion with a huge, blazing searchlight and cruise the coast. Frequently, flying fish could be seen with the searchlight jumping out of the water.

Right after World War II, Newport Harbor was the center of sportfishing activity in southern California. At that time, over a hundred sportfishing boats operated out of nine landings.

Fishermen on the Valencia in 1935

Today, only two sport fishing landings with less than ten boats survived, one of which is Davey’s Locker which, since 1965, has been operating out of the Balboa Pavilion.

Nastolgic photograph of Davey's Locker Sportfishing boat.

In 1942, the Pavilion's owners leased the upstairs of the building to a gentleman who built and operated a ten lane bowling alley! Pinsetters hand set the pins. Pinsetters were paid ten cents per game. He also operated an archery range and had five pool tables.

1940s - Bowling at the Balboa Pavilion.

Because the Pavilion is anchored on a narrow strip of sandy waterfront, most of the building was supported on wooden pilings which extend over the bay. In 1947, the wooden pilings deteriorated to the dangerous point and the building began to collapse into the bay.

In 1947 or 1948, the Gronsky family purchased the Balboa Pavilion primarily to operate a sport fishing landing and to continue leasing the upstairs.

However, rumors circulated that the Pavilion, which was run down and in disrepair, would be leveled and transformed into a boat yard. But according to Art Gronsky, “We assured everybody we would keep the Pavilion and make it better. When we reopened it in 1949, it was quite an event for Balboa.”

Because the building was in such poor condition, the Gronsky’s obtained the building at a very low price. To rectify the deteriorating twenty-six original wooden pilings, eight large, concrete pilings were installed, a Hurculean task. Workers pushed wheel-barrels full of concrete across scaffoldings to install new concrete pilings. The result was a newly fortified, element-resistant city landmark. Additionally, the lower walls of the building were also rebuilt to be structurally sound.

In 1949, the Gronsky reopened the building.

At first, the Gronskys did not own their own fishing boats. But they allowed other boat owners to run their boats out of the Pavilion on a percentage basis. The Gronskys converted the Pavilion’s only boat, the “Crescent,” into a bait carrier and hauled bait the Pavilion fishing boats and the other eight fishing landings in the bay.

But the private boats had to obtain their bait from bait tanks at the Pavilion, the only harbor bait provider at that time. During the height of the Albacore season, boats lined up a quarter of a mile, clear back to Bay Island, to purchase bait. Later, competition emerged when other boats sold bait at the end of the Jetty, ending the bait monopoly.

The Gronsky’s continued speed boat rides. Their boat was the “Leading Lady.” However, a speed limit was imposed in the bay. Therefore, the “speed” part of the ride had to wait until they exited the bay and entered the ocean.

According to Art Gronsky, the bowling alley, archery, and pool table continued but, due to suspiciously low monthly percentage checks amounting to less than $20.00, the Gronskys switched to a fixed rate rental. This caused the business owner not to renegotiate the lease. According to Gronsky, the owner chopped each bowling lane into three pieces, slide them out of the side of the building and into a truck and, he heard, reinstalled them somewhere in Arizona.

By 1949, a gift shop and the “Sportsman Wharf” restaurant replaced the amusement center. Further, the upstairs was rented to a “Skil-O-Quiz” bingo parlor. As many as 500 participants at a time played bingo. The prizes were merchandise, not money. However, a nearby place would trade the merchandise for cash. In 1952, the bingo was deemed too wicked, was outlawed, and the sheriff closed the establishment down.

In 1954, Gronsky instituted a shell museum upstairs. Gronsky purchased one of the world’s most extensive private shell collections from the estate of Fred Aldrich, who had lived on Bay Island (an exclusive private island on the bay which allows no vehicles). The museum displayed over 2.5 million shells. Later, Gronsky added shell fish store. Eventually, due to vandalism problems, the shell fish collection was donated to Bowers Museum in Santa Ana.

In 1961 the Gronskys sold the Balboa Pavilion to Ducommun Realty Company of Los Angeles. Edmond G. “Alan” Ducommun, who enjoyed the Balboa area as a child. His “mission” was to restore the building. Ducommun generously invested an estimated one million dollars into the property. He remodeled and restored the exterior of the building, including the blue shingled roof, gray paneled walls, and distinctive cupola. This helped restore the building to its original 1906 look.

According to Bill Ficker, an architect who worked on the year long renovation, “They did it because they loved the Pavilion and they thought it was a landmark worth being preserved.”

From 1962 through 1970, the upstairs of the Pavilion housed the Newport Harbor Art Museum. Thirteen audacious ladies who started the Newport Harbor Art Museum asked Mr. Ducommun if they could use the 8,000 square foot upstairs -- for free! Mr. Ducoomun kindly agreed. According to Betty Winckler, the founding force behind the museum, in a magazine article:

“I called Mr. Ducommon at his home in Portuguese Bend at 7’oclock in the morning and I guess he couldn’t believe what he heard – some women he didn’t know wanted to use his building for their art museum, for free.." "The building was in pretty flaky condition,” according to Ms. Winckler.
We agreed to make a few improvements on the second floor – a heater for winter, vents for summer, and restrooms. “Finally, the big day came, and on October 15, 1962, I proudly turned on the switch lighting the Pavilion Art Museum for our first show. Artist Miller Sheets was the guest lecturer…”

In 1963, Ducommun added 1500 lights to the buildings exterior at the suggestion of a former restaurant lessee. Even today, the Pavilion continues to light up the night with its 1500 glowing light bulbs. These lights, along with the Cupula on top of the building, incidentally serve as a navigation beacon for night boat travelers.

In 1968, the Pavilion was named a California State Historic Landmark. The Pavilion is also listed in the National Register of Historic Places, which is the highest honor a historic building can receive.

The Balboa Pavillion is state historical landmark #959 and national historic landmark #84000914.

From Left to Right - Evelyn Hart, Phil Tozer, Marion Bergeson, James Shafer

Alan Ducommun admits: “I think when I bought it, I was leading with my heart instead of my business head.” After ten years of ownership but not financial success, he was ready to sell the Pavilion.

In 1969, Davey’s Locker Inc., a sport fishing operation, under the business leadership of its president, Phil Tozer, purchased the Balboa Pavilion to provide a permanent terminal for the expansion of its Catalina Island passenger service. Tozer undertook to refurbish the building’s interior to reflect the turn of the century architecture. With no interior architectural plans and very limited photographs to refer to, Tozer, nevertheless, sought to create an authentic 1905 interior. He searched out a lot of old Victorian homes and bought what they call “architectural debris” (old parts of Victorian homes that were saved and reused). Notable additions included the beautiful, monumental oak staircase, six authentic oak doors, oak chairs sitting on antique rugs, ornate tin ceiling, leaded glass mirrors, antique furnishings, hall trees, twinkling chandeliers, charming photographs, an authentic waterfront saloon with a solid oak back bar as well as many others. Phil Tozer further invisioned and created a multiuse marine recreation facility.

On May 20, 1980, the Balboa Pavilion Company branched off from Davey’s Locker and took over ownership of the Pavilion.

In 1981, the Balboa Pavilion was designated as a California Point of Historic Interest.

In short, a long succession of owners have sought to preserve its basic structure, retain the Pavilion’s beautiful Victorian lines as well as its authenticity.

The Pavilion is a classic example of the turn-of-the-century waterfront pavilions and continues to be the center of Newport Beach activity.

The Balboa Pavilion “is the city landmark,” according to Ficker. “Every painter has painted it and every photographer has photographed it. It is the grand dame of focal points.”


Alaska's facing the 'graying of the fleet,' but some determined young fishermen are bucking the trend

Red salmon are beginning to hit Bristol Bay and across the state, thousands of fishermen are mending nets, hiring crew and preparing to harvest the bounty from Alaska waters and the seas beyond. Today, the average age of a commercial fishery permit holder in Alaska is 50 — up from 40 in 1980. At that time, Alaskans under the age of 40 held nearly 40 percent of the fishing permits. As of a couple of years ago, young Alaska fishermen owned less than 20 percent.

This "graying of the fleet" means that fewer young Alaskans are becoming fishermen. For young people already fishing, advancing in the industry can be hard, especially with the costs of permits, quota and vessels rising.

The numbers are particularly startling in Alaska's coastal villages. Over the past four decades in rural communities around Kodiak, for example, there's been an 84 percent drop in the number of salmon seine permits owned by local fishermen under the age of 40.

It takes about half a million dollars to get set up as a full-time fisherman — a heftier price tag than for a plush house. Today, a seine permit in the Kodiak region costs about $50,000. A salmon drift permit in Bristol Bay runs about $150,000. Halibut quota is being sold for upwards of $50 per pound, an increase from about $15 per pound in 2010. At today's rate, a young person trying to buy into the halibut fishery either needs a million dollars in cash or be willing to pour all income into a loan payment.

/>Ken Jones’ boat, the Serenity. ( James Burton )

But these aren't the only challenges faced by young Alaskans aiming to enter the state's $6.4 billion industry, the largest private employer in the 49th state.

"Often the issues are portrayed as only economic," Courtney Carothers said. She's the head of a four-year, $400,000 University of Alaska Fairbanks study investigating Alaska's aging fishing industry and barriers facing young people in the fishing-dependent Kodiak and Bristol Bay regions. Her team has interviewed more than 150 people and surveyed some 800 students, revealing steep social, cultural and logistical hurdles. These include lack of exposure to fishing, a dearth of local mentors, and social problems, including drug and alcohol addiction.

Young people already in the industry face a learning curve while paying such expenses as loans, moorage and boat maintenance. And, like all fishermen, they're at the whim of the global marketplace, which means their income may vary sharply year to year. This can be particularly hard for young people working to establish their businesses while supporting families.

Many factors contribute to the graying of the fleet, but it's clear to Carothers and others that how fisheries are managed shapes who fishes. Limited entry and individual fishing quota (IFQ) systems restrict access to fisheries by transforming what was a right to fish into a commodity that's bought and sold — creating a "system of haves and have-nots," Carothers said. In the coastal communities she's studying, young people realize early on that in order to be a commercial fisherman, they need a lot of money.

Other parts of the world offer models for how Alaska might support young people who want to fish. Maine operates a lobster fishery apprenticeship program, for instance, creating a path for young people to enter the fishery without a huge financial burden. Some European countries provide special access for young people, too.

What's at stake if young Alaskans don't join the fleet? According to Carothers, nothing less than the sustainability of our fishing economies, cultures and communities.

Here's a brief look at some young Alaskans getting started in the industry that helped shape Alaska's history and identity.

Luke Smith

Hometown: White Mountain

Background: Second-generation commercial fisherman

Fisheries: Norton Sound winter king crab fishery Norton Sound summer king crab fishery Bering Sea crab fishery

Vessels Owned: Northern Fury, a 32-foot Bristol Bay stern picker configured for crab

Quote: "If there's a way to make money fishing, you're going to see me out there."

In April, you'll find Luke Smith on the frozen expanse of Norton Sound, fishing for red king crab through holes in the ice. The 31-year-old father fishes year-round, from early spring crab fishing by snowmachine to running his own boat in the Norton Sound summer crab fishery and working as a deckhand come winter on a Bering Sea crabber.

Smith grew up in Golovin, an Inupiat Eskimo village of fewer than 200 people 70 miles east of Nome, not far from where he lives now in White Mountain. As a kid, Smith helped with his father's commercial setnet operation. As Smith grew and saw some of his siblings go through hard times, he decided, "I'm not going that way." Smith was the only child in his family to finish high school, and he's the only commercial fisherman, too.

Smith's business philosophy goes like this: "Put some time into it and learn it and throw all of the money you can at it so you can run your own show." He adds, "You can do so much for yourself when you're starting a business." Smith has seized opportunities, such as moving quickly when he heard about a boat going on the market. Smith secured a vessel loan from the Norton Sound Economic Development Corp. to make the purchase.

In the years to come, Smith hopes to become a skipper on a Dutch Harbor crabber. And he looks forward to fishing with his kids during the summer. Smith and his wife Carol have five children, ages 4 to 16.

Amy Schaub

Hometown: Homer, her boat

Background: First-generation commercial fisherman

Fisheries: Southeast salmon seine fishery

Vessels Owned: Norsel, a 58-foot seiner

Quote: "I don't have anything handed down to me."

Although this season will only be Amy Schaub's second as captain, her eight-year commercial fishing resume is extensive. Off the coasts of Alaska, Washington and California, she has longlined for halibut, black cod and gray cod jigged for cod and rockfish fished for prawn seined for salmon and squid and fished for Dungeness crab. Last year, Schaub bought the Norsel, a 1950 wooden seiner she had crewed on for five years.

Schaub is from rural Wisconsin, a place where "you choose a job with a good 401(k) and you stay there." That's exactly what she hasn't done. Instead, Schaub has sought a variety of experiences to build her skills as a mariner and fisherman. She has a degree in wooden boat building from the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building, which helps her maintain the Norsel. She has an able seaman credential and a 100-ton master's license. She has worked on a research vessel in Antarctica and has sailed tall ships on the Great Lakes. And, realizing she needed to learn more about net construction and repair, Schaub spent this past winter working for a Homer net-building company.

"You have to work a lot harder," Schaub said of first-generation fishermen. "I don't have anything handed down to me."

Schaub believes she must diversify her operation, spending more money up front. And that's the rub for Schaub.

"Community is a huge part of fishing for me," Schaub reflected. Last summer was the first season she communicated via the boat's VHF radio as captain, and she's built a group of friends and fellow fishermen — her radio partners — she plans to fish near for the next 30 years.

Despite working up to the level of captain and vessel owner, Schaub is still figuring things out. "We're all struggling," Schaub said of the young skippers. Financing, dealing with salmon-price fluctuations, the uncertainty environmental changes bring — "I'm dealing with it as I go," she said.

Jake Everich

Hometown: Kodiak

Background: Second-generation commercial fisherman

Fisheries: Gulf of Alaska trawl fishery, Kodiak salmon tender

Vessels Owned: None. Everich works as captain on the Alaskan, a 73-foot trawler

Quote: "I'm ready to make a bigger commitment in the industry, but how I'm going to do that, I don't know."

When Jake Everich was a high school senior in Rhode Island, he missed so many days of school because of his commercial fishing job that in order to graduate he had to convince his adviser that working on a trawler was giving him an education. Everich's father had been a trawler and had continued to fish commercially in small boat fisheries as Everich grew.

"Trawling's in my blood," he said.

/>Jake Everich, middle, with Ross Lee (left) and Dean Brown (right) aboard the F/V Alaskan. (Courtesy Jake Everich )

Six years ago, Everich came to Alaska and, while walking the docks in Kodiak, met the owner of the Alaskan. He has completed four years as crew and two years as captain of the vessel.

The trawl industry is particularly hard for young people to break into, Everich said. It's one of the more difficult fisheries, with complicated and expensive equipment and a higher level of risk.

"The margin of error is extremely slim," he said.

Despite the challenges, Everich describes commercial fishing as "pretty much one of the last industries that produces something. Essentially you're printing dollars."

And he wants to invest more.

"I'd love to be able to step into an ownership role," Everich said. But regulatory uncertainty, he explained, keeps him from doing so. Managers of the trawl fishery are considering new ways to reduce bycatch and make the fishery — one of the last in Alaska to operate derby-style — safer.

"I'm ready to make a bigger commitment in the industry, but how I'm going to do that, I don't know," he said.

Everich is quickly becoming a young leader among trawl fishermen, testifying at fishery meetings and traveling to Denmark this fall to learn about new trawl equipment and technology.

Regulatory changes coupled with environmental change will shape the industry, Everich said. But "in the fishing industry," he said, "there's always uncertainty."

Ken Jones

Hometown: Cordova

Background: Third-generation commercial fisherman

Fisheries: Prince William Sound cod jig fishery, Sitka herring seine fishery, Prince William Sound salmon seine fishery, Prince William Sound black cod longline fishery, salmon tendering

Vessels Owned: Serenity, a 50-foot seiner Second Wind, a 32-foot bow picker

Quote: "If somebody wants to make [fishing] their life, then they'll do it."

The family story goes like this: When Ken Jones' father was 9 or 10, he was sent out commercial fishing alone by his father. Jones' grandfather, a Cordova high school teacher from the Lower 48 turned commercial fisherman, knew that limited-entry salmon fishing was coming, and getting your net in the water was important in order to earn the right to fish. It worked. Jones' father was among the original 1973 salmon permit holders. That was before Jones graduated from high school dad still fishes today.

/>Ken Jones, is from Cordova. (Chelsea Haisman)

By age 10, Jones was spending summers fishing with his dad. At 16, he had enough money from fishing and Permanent Fund dividends saved up to buy a 30-year-old fixer-upper seiner. Jones hasn't inherited permits, but "there's been a lot of knowledge passed down."

While some fishermen lament the lack of economic security, Jones said it's up to each fisherman. He's paying into a retirement account and is looking beyond commercial fishing to diversify his business. "You've got to be friends with a CPA. I talk to my accountant at least once a week," he said.

"There's definitely some issues facing this generation," said Jones, who sits on Cordova's harbor commission. Climate change and ocean acidification worry him. Genetically modified farmed salmon dubbed Frankenfish, price volatility and troubled relations with Russia (a good market for pink salmon roe) will continue to shape the industry, Jones said. And the state's budget crisis concerns him.

"We're losing management tools and programs," Jones said.

One bright side, Jones said, is that since some salmon prices are down, so are the costs of permits and boats, which can help young people get into the industry.

"Right now is a decent time to buy in," he said.

Elsa Sebastian

Hometown: Sitka

Background: Second-generation commercial fisherman

Fisheries: Southeast salmon troll fishery

Vessels Owned: Lena, a 38-foot sailboat configured for trolling

Quote: "You're working yourself to a nub. But you're also creating independence for yourself."

Elsa Sebastian grew up in Point Baker, a fishing community of a few dozen residents 50 miles southwest of Petersburg, where her parents had moved in search of a different kind of life than they could find Outside. Home-schooled, Sebastian and her brother spent four months of the year on the family's 1937 wooden troller. During high school, she and her brother bought a hand troller with PFD money their parents had socked away. For four seasons, Sebastian hand-trolled — fishing for king and silver salmon with two lines of hooks trailing off the back of the boat and pulling them in by hand.

"Read books. Do well in school. Go to a good college," was her parents' mantra. Sebastian got a full scholarship to a prestigious private college on the East Coast she and her brother were the first in their family to attend college. But she always came home for the summer and fished. This past fall, she bought a power troller, the Lena — purchased from and financed by a family friend — that fishes with four lines and a motorized winch.

Sebastian dedicates much of her off-season to conservation and community issues. A board member of the Alaska Marine Conservation Council, she's helping build a network of young fishermen around the state to share skills. Sebastian is also concerned with the permit drain from rural communities, and is worried the industry is losing diversity. She recalls the varied community of commercial fishermen she knew growing up — disparate people connected by fishing.

"It really takes business people to get into the industry these days," she said.

"It's really hard to visualize a life fishing," she said. There's no retirement plan, no economic security, she explained. Life is seasonal. When you fish, "You're working yourself to a nub," Sebastian said. "But you're also creating independence for yourself." Sebastian's new boat is her most important business asset, but she also describes it as "a really stable platform for sailing around the world" — which one day she'd like to do.

John Christensen

Hometown: Port Heiden

Background: Third-generation commercial fisherman

Fisheries: Bristol Bay salmon gillnet fishery

Vessels Owned: Queen Ann, 32-foot drifter

Quote: "You don't know if there is going to be enough fish or if it's going to be worth anything."

John Christensen can't remember how old he was when he fished with his father for the first time — maybe 10 or 11.

"I think I was just sick the whole time," he said. But by age 16, he was fishing all summer, gillnetting for salmon in Bristol Bay.

Christensen is from Port Heiden, an Alutiiq village of about 100 people on the Alaska Peninsula at the mouth of the salmon-rich Meshik River. He graduated from high school and served in the Navy three years before coming home. Both his father and grandfather were commercial fishermen. From his late father, Christensen inherited a fishing permit and the Queen Ann, a 32-foot drift boat he runs out of Ugashik and Port Heiden.

/>John Christensen is from Port Heiden. (Evan Kosbruk)

And like his father, Christensen is a leader in his community. As president of the Port Heiden Native Council, Christensen is helping establish a village fish processing plant that will hire local workers and process fish from Port Heiden's fleet of nearly a dozen fishermen. Currently, the closest market for their fish is 60 miles away. Once the processing facility is up and running, Port Heiden fishermen will be able to fish locally.

Christensen sees price volatility as one of the greatest challenges facing young fishermen.

"You don't know if there is going to be enough fish or if it's going to be worth anything," he said.

What he hopes to see in the future is a greater demand for high-quality wild salmon and stable prices.

"It's a great job," he said. "It just doesn't pay very well." But, he likes being his own boss and working only part of the year.

Christensen is married with two kids and one more on the way. This summer might be the first time his oldest child — an 8-year-old son — fishes with him.

"He's really excited to go," Christensen said.

Darren Platt

Hometown: Kodiak

Background: First-generation commercial fisherman

Fisheries: Kodiak salmon seine fishery Kodiak herring seine fishery

Vessels Owned: Agnes Sabine, a 42-foot seiner

Quote: "I love how much I think and learn every day on the water."

Darren Platt has a master's degree in mechanical engineering, but it's commercial fishing — not a job in his field — that excites and challenges him.

"Although engineering is an academic pursuit, I find fishing to be far more intellectually challenging. I love how much I think and learn every day on the water," he said.

Platt, 34, is from Minnesota. Fishing with his uncle off New Jersey beaches as a youngster hooked him.

"From that day on, I absolutely loved fishing," he said.

One summer during college in Oregon, he bought a plane ticket to Alaska. Walking the docks in Homer, he got his first fishing job on a Bristol Bay drift boat. That was nearly 12 years ago. But to him, fishing remains "novel and fresh," Platt said.

A Kodiak resident for six years, Platt strongly believes that privatization of fisheries — via individual fishing quotas or catch shares — is bad for fishermen and their communities.

"Ultimately it seems to cause great harm to fishermen," he said. Platt, who has spoken out on the issue, believes that catch share systems transfer the costs onto the next generation by granting one generation the rights to fish while the following generations have to pay for it.

Platt is also concerned about biological changes, such as the shrinking average size of some species.

"We're facing a lot of environmental uncertainty," Platt said. "We're seeing a drastically evolving marine ecosystem."

Miranda Weiss is a science and nature writer and the author of "Tide, Feather, Snow: A Life in Alaska."


Sidebar:

When scouting out your land-based Florida fishing spots, minding these considerations will help ensure an enjoyable trip:

Keep It Legal — With the exception of piers with licenses covering admitted anglers, Florida requires a saltwater shore fishing license to fish from land, pier, bridge or jetty (wading included). The license is free for state residents (convenience fees apply for online or phone orders), so it’s pretty silly to earn a costly citation for not obtaining one here https://myfwc.com/license/recreational/saltwater-fishing/shoreline-faqs/.

Also, be aware of your responsibility to know the state’s fishery laws. Size, season and bag limits remain the same, regardless of how/where you catch your fish. See https://myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/recreational/.

Parking — Most city or county lots offer parking meters, or more modern payment kiosks where you prepay a flat fee or hourly rate by entering your license plate or numbered spot while state or local parks typically charge a day use fee to enter. Parking on private property will almost certainly get you ticketed and it may get you towed. Don’t ruin your day with a poor choice.

Moreover, choose your non-regulated parking spots carefully. Empty lots and bridge pull-offs may be convenient and cost-efficient, but a cursory scan for questionable types who clearly not fishing might offer a safety/vehicle security clue.

Restroom Facilities — Key planning element, especially if you’re bringing the family. Tip: Local businesses rarely budge on the “restrooms are for customers only” thing (many have signs posted), so don’t expect any mercy, no matter how much you grimace and squeeze your knees together.

Consider the Distance — Pretty obvious stuff, but the walk out and the walk back will cover the same distance. Add in several hours of fishing and fatigue can become a real issue. Commercially produced aluminum pier/bridge carts with wide wheels will easily transport your rods, tackle bag, cooler and live bait well over pavement, rocks or sand but for casual duties, a garden utility cart (some models fold) will suffice.

Weather Watchers — Florida’s often fickle weather can change quickly, especially in the summer months, so watch the skies and monitor your weather app. Waiting until you feel that cool downdraft can leave you and your gear exposed and out of options so know where the nearest shelter lies and have a bug-out plan just in case.

Be a Good Neighbor — Any licensed angler has equal claim to public fishing areas, but how we interact with fellow anglers can greatly impact our day. It starts with respectful spacing, so if you approach an area where others are fishing, take note of where their lines are set (short, long) and allow reasonable buffers.

A friendly wave and a friendly “how’s the bite?” Inquiry goes a long way toward establishing good rapport. You might even get a tip or two on the local happenings.


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