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.

29 June, 2009

Heigh Ho...It's Home from Work We Go: Anzio, Italy-My World

Walking along the beachwalk in ANZIO this past February I came on this lady throwing breadcrumbs to the seagulls. You can see her legs on the left of the photograph behind the trash bin. And, the gulls were swarming about. I took several shots before I captured this one...gulls are not the easiest thing to capture when they are dive bombing bread...

Please stop by and visit the MY WORLD MEME hosted by the fab team of Klaus | Sandy | Ivar | Wren | Fishing Guy| Louise. We had over 100 visitors last weekthis shot as the gulls look like they are following the men home from work on the pathway.