01 July, 2009

Riding the Balboa Island Ferry: Newport Beach, California - Skywatch Friday

Come on, let's take a ride on the Balboa Island Ferry. This is one of my favorite beach spots in Southern California and where I spent much time during my younger days. We had the chance to spend a few hours here during our recent visit. The tall buildings you see off in the distance in the fourth photograph is Fashion Island where last week's image is from. The weather was perfect during our entire visit and of course as you can see from these captures the skies clear and blue.

The ferry boats travel under 1,000 feet from Balboa Island to the Balboa Peninsula (Fun Zone area) and vice versa, reaching a top speed of four miles per hour. The speed limit in the harbor is 5 miles per hour, and the ferry docks about every 5 minutes. A full time captain will dock the ferry at least 22,500 times every year, traveling at least 3,200 miles every year.
In 1919, Joseph Beek obtained the rights from the city of Newport Beach to provide a ferry service between Balboa Island across the Newport Harbor to the Balboa Peninsula. Before starting the ferry service, Mr. Beek owned "The Ark". The Ark consisted of a giant rowboat and a small engine. Joseph Alen Beek used the Ark as his first ferry vessel. The Ark carried oars in the event of engine failure. There was no regularly scheduled service; customers telephoned Beek when they needed a ride across the harbor.
In 1919, Mr. Beek charged a nickel (5 cents) per person. Three years after commencing operation, Mr. Beek built the "Fat Ferry". This vessel held twenty passengers. Joseph Beek further built a small, one car, barge. The Fat Ferry pushed the barge across the channel between Balboa Island and the Balboa Peninsula.
In the 1950s, Mr. Beek built three double-ended wooden boats for his ferry service: the Admiral, the Commodore, and the Captain. These three boats are still presently in service and have transported over two million persons. Each ferry holds three cars and 75 people.

As of 2007, the Beek family charges $1 per adult, $2 per vehicle, $.50 for children ages 5-11, $1.25 for adults on bikes, $.75 for children on bikes, $1.50 for motorcycles, and children under the age of 5 are free.

The ferry boats need constant maintenance, but this does not usually interrupt the ferry service. For two weeks in 2008 the ferry service shut down for an extended period, for the first time in 50 years, to rebuild the automobile ramp leading to the boats.

Currently, Mr. Beek’s three sons all run the business. It has been in the family for close to 100 years.

Do stop by and visit Skywatch Friday. This meme is hosted by: Klaus Sandy Ivar Wren Fishing Guy Louise who do a fab job.

47 comments:

Ebie said...

Hi Erin, enjoyed this ferry trip. Someday, we will wake up in the crack of dawn and catch the crabs @ 2 dollars per pound in Newport Beach pier. Have a safe and enjoyable days at the lakeside.

Daryl said...

Oh Erin, these are spectacular .. I especially love the signs ... I am a sign freak!

RuneE said...

A fascinating story - and equally fascinating low prices.

PS Thank you for the comment!

MedaM said...

Thanks for this beautiful trip. This post is so beautiful and informative. your photos are breathtaking as always; the colors are spectacular as well as the light of sunny day and all the details are so clear. I am honestly delighted.

Carletta said...

What a great testament to a family work ethic.
Lovely shots - all of them!
I particularly like the graphics of the first shot.

My post is here: Carletta’s Captures.

Reader Wil said...

I can hear oooing and awing...Can you hear me wowing? I can see why this is your favourite beach! It's lovely. Have a great SWF!

foto CHIP Sweden said...

It looks very picturesque - I sure would like to visite this place :)
Have a nice day!

auringonkukka :) said...

thank you once visited a village home pages and pretty pictures here:)
have a nice week!

Sylvia K said...

I loved this ferry trip! Really spectacular shots, Erin! Wonderful skies to travel under!

Steffi said...

Hi Erin,those are fantastic photo´s for a SWF!Thank you for sharing.Have a nice weekend!

Luiz Ramos said...

Beautiful sky and buildings.

Mojo said...

Sort of reminds me of the Coronado Island ferry in San Diego. Only perhaps a bit smaller. I haven't been to Southern California in ... well... a lot of years (i.e. more years than I'm telling), but I still remember that ferry ride.

Sounds like Mr. Beek was quite the entrepreneur!

Carver said...

This was a fascinating post and you got some great shots during the ferry ride. What fun!

Alexander said...

Only if I could be there for a holiday. Beautiful!

Have a wonderful weekend.

Alexander
Alex's World! - http://www.kakinan.com/alex

Sue said...

What a fun post! I enjoyed reading about the family owned and run ferry service and looking at your fun photos of the scenery and the sky.

I liked your My World post, too.

Tabib said...

Beautiful place , perfect sky and look like you enjoy your trip there.

Island Rambles Blog said...

Hi Erin, I really enjoy your beautiful photos of all the places you go to...I admire the blog layout you have and the pictures enlarged are so crisp. I would love to take this Ferry ride.

Esther Garvi said...

Summer is here, hurray!

Denise said...

Hi Erin, wonderful photos. Sounds like you had a lovely trip and I am looking forward to catching up on your other posts. My son and his new bride have been enjoying Rome over the last few days and are off to Sorrento tomorrow. Thank you for your sweet comments.

Louise said...

Makes me happy just to think of it. Nice photos.

Annie said...

As always, wonderful photos...I absolutely love the blue in them! Do you do special actions on them? I presume?

Thanks for popping in to my skywatch post for today!

Gaelyn said...

What a fun ferry trip, especially with the history. Must not be a very big island. Great captures.

Have a great weekend Erin.

Sally in WA said...

This brings back memories. One weekend not too many years ago, we waited for the first ferry of the day to go over to Newport Beach and the pier. Great fun. And these are great pics, too!

Lew said...

Nice shots of the beach area and great history of the ferry. Looks like the ferry saves a lot of driving if you are traveling between Balboa Island and the peninsula.

alicesg said...

Very beautiful scenery. The river looked so blue and clean. Have a nice weekend.

magiceye said...

they are beautiful!

Merisi said...

Beautiful pictures and very interesting story!

Have you ever used "White's Ferry"? It runs across the Potomac river between Leesburg on the Virginia side and Poolesville in Maryland.

Merisi said...

Erin,
regarding the garden globes (or spheres, I am not sure how you'd call them):
The German word for them is "Rosenkugel" - rose globe or sphere - and they go back a thousand years or so. They are mostly used as ornaments nowadays, but in farmer's gardens they were meant to also deter birds of prey from the hens scratching around in the gardens. I shall try to find more information and maybe add to the post later today, probably not before evening.

Regina said...

Wonderful post. Thanks for sharing. Nice shots.

Titania said...

Beautiful place, everything so colourful. I admire people who have kept and improved a business for 100 years. A great achievement.

Elisabeth's bright side said...

Really wonderful pictures! Have a great weekend

curious girl (lisa) said...

thank you for this beautiful journey you've given me this morning!!!

Michele said...

Oh neat... what a cool place and it looks like so much fun!
I would so love to take a ferry trip myself but for now, your trip will suffice... awesome pictures!!

I hope you have a lovely weekend!

Jan K. alias Afanja said...

Really nice shots, Erin.
Thanks for giving us a ride on the ferry. I enjoyed it!

srp said...

What color and light and a beautiful story of a family and its dream. And you can't beat those prices!!

VALKYRIEN said...

Great SkyWatch shots! There is always something special with your photos, something about the light and composition that I like!

Regarding the shot of the humblebee: My camera is an Olympus SP-560UZ. It has an advanced macro, so I don't have to shift lens. I don't have a macro to my Canon EOS-400D.

Thank you for your kind comment! Wish you a great weekend!

fishing guy said...

Erin: Beautiful captures at the bay, I bet that was a neat ride.

SandyCarlson said...

Oh, yeah, that is a great series. Paintings, all. Beautiful.

chrome3d said...

Just lovingly captured slice of beachlife. Those ferries were so cute and fun. Admiral, Commodore and Captain...sounds more like huge cruiseships!

Gattina said...

What a lovely place ! The Garda Lake also has ferry service. It's one of the biggest lakes in Europe. 60km long and 53 large. There are mainly surfers and sailing boats on the lake. No besides the ferry I never took a boat there.

The Pleasures of Homemaking said...

How beautiful! I haven't been on a ferry since we moved from NJ to Georgia!

Manuela

Snapshutter said...

Nice photos, they seem to have a glow to them. How do you get that effect?

Pak Zawi said...

Erin,
Just the thing I am looking for: A blog about USA. Hope to fulfill my life's dream of visiting USA one day.

Your EG Tour Guide said...

Beautiful day for a ferry ride!

Pearl Maple said...

Very pretty photos for sky watch friday, can really feel the whole summer vibe.

LaY hOoN said...

Beautiful photos captured.
And thanks for the information.

Jane said...

Hi there!
My name is Jane and I'm with Dwellable.
I was looking for blogs about Balboa to share on our site and I came across your post...If you're open to it, shoot me an email at jane(at)dwellable(dot)com.
Hope to hear from you :)
Jane