I will be adding Sea Stories to this page when I get time to reminisce. So come back again and have a look. I may put them in the
Broncohat Newsletter as I write them. Marv

The Superstitious Drag Fisherman


Marvin France


The time was in 1967 through 1970. I was hauling Bait (Anchovies) to bait up the Party Boats that fished Tuna and Bottom Fish also the Commercial Tuna Fleet, that Fished the west coast from Alaska to Mexico. When they were working off Morro Bay, California.


I needed to know if there were some Anchovies in deep water. So I thought of the El Capitan and Harry the Captain. They said he was on the boat getting ready to go fishing tonight.


I went aboard and called for Harry, but no answer. I walked into the Galley and looked into the Wheelhouse and no Harry. I heard a "Tapping" sound coming from the Engine Room and the Hatch was open. I stuck my head down through it and saw Harry with a small hammer "Tapping" the Water Pump, Heat Exchanger, Fuel Pump and finally he finished. I think that he "Tapped" everything in the Engine Room. I said, "Hey, Harry what are you doing?" Harry looked at me and said, "I am beating the "Evils" out of my Engine. I said, "OK".  We walked out on to the deck talking about fishing, when I looked at his Drag Net on the deck. It had 2 X 4's under the Net to keep it off the deck. I ask Harry, “What are the 2 X 4's doing?” Harry said, "That is to air the "Evils" out of my Net." I said, "OK".


I helped with the Tie-up Lines and off the El Capitan and Harry went. I watched them going by the Morro Rock and Harry was looking at the Breakwater and the sky. There was a Full Moon and a Black Cloud. The Black Cloud crossed in front of the Full Moon, blacking it out. When the Moon Light came again the El Capitan and Harry had made a half circle and was headed back into the Harbor to tie up and call it a night.


For you Harry "The Best", where ever you are.


Marvin France

This Story I am calling "Who Stole my Strawberrys".

By Marvin France

In 1971 to 1973 I lived in San Pedro, CA. I had the Pickup Boat (38 foot Party Boat). For an engine it had a 671 GM Diesel. She cruised at 9 knots. What I did as a Pickup Boat was to service the "Santa Barbara Black Fleet". These were Abalone Divers working Santa Catalina Island and San Clamente Island, about 15 Dive Boats. Every other day I would run their Groc., Fuel and Parts for their operation to them, so they could stay out at the Islands and work. My Boat was tied up to the Shell Dock at the Ports of Call. Tom and his son worked and ran the Dock and with their help everything ran smoothly. My day would go like this:

07:00 am I would get to the Boat, say "Howdy" to Tom, grab some of his Coffee and check what I had checked the day before, Oil, Batteries, water pumps, Radio, Depth Meter, Radar and then put on the Groceries (Strawberrys), Fuel, Gas, Oil, Grease & Parts. Every box was marked with the Name of the Dive Boat on their order. Every boat would work for two days and when I arrived at their location for pickup (at each Island) I would anchor up and put the Bumpers along side and tie them up as they came along side. There I would take a "Barney Bag" (made from Heavy Seiner Twin) and it would hold 5 dozen abalone. I would take their Ab's and mark their Barney Bags with the Name Of the Dive Boat & Amount of Ab's. They would look for the Box with their supplies and put it on their boat and so on. They would give me their new order for the next pickup.

Well, I would leave the Dock about 09:00 am and would be at the East End of Catalina at 12:30 Noon and then San Clamente Island, West end around 5:00 pm and start to work. With about half of the Dive Boats serviced, I heard a Diver holler to another Dive Boat "You took my Strawberrys" and a shot rang out in the night (it was about 08:00 pm and the Dive Boat that took the Strawberry's was at anchor with his Starboard Running Light shot out and instantly a voice was Hollering "I will give them back Don't Shoot". Diver's work about 5 hours average water time and when you are craving Strawberrys for three days, need I say more?

The most Abalone hauled, was alittle over 700 dozen. I had 2 feet of Freeboard (measure water to Deck level). When I was empty it was 4 feet.

I would leave the Island at 09:00 pm headed back to San Pedro, CA. I would run all night and arrive at the Forty Theif's Dock in San Pedro, to unload the Abalone on to a truck, that would take them to Santa Barbara to be processed. Then to the Shell Dock and call in the orders for Groceries and Parts, etc, so they would be delivered that day or the next. Go home and get some sleep. The next day I would go down and check my boat over and put on the fuel, gas and oil needed on the orders from the 15 Dive Boats and hope they have a good two days of diving for Abalone.

I hired someone to run the Pickup Boat and went back diving myself. Good times and alot of Story's.


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