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Waterfront: Out and About in Newport Harbor

John Wayne aboard the Wild Goose

John Wayne aboard the Wild Goose

Hopefully, we’re about to say farewell to the drought! While the professional doomsayers predicted we’ll never recover from the drought we’re off to a great turn-around.

For those non-native locals, we have an arid climate that has always seen dry years and wet—but mostly dry years.

That’s why we have millions of folks living in Southern California: The weather! For sun and salt water worshipers, it is very normal to rarely lose your natural tan year round, and continue boating, fishing, surfing, and swimming 12 months a year.

We’ve had a lot of rain, and So Cal boating is in arears. The Christmas Boat Parade had cold and wet weather, which has happened before, and then returns to a year or two with milder weather. We need the rain but look forward to fair weather boating.

With the cooler sea temperatures, the wahoo, blue and yellowfin tuna and dorado that were common in local waters have disappeared, and the common winter bottom fishing has returned with ling cod, rock cod and sheephead for tasty eating. The white fillets can be prepared alone or in white or red sauces.

Another major change from this time last year is our water temperature which is almost 10 degrees colder. Yes, the experts stated

Bogart and Bacall aboard the Santana

Bogart and Bacall aboard the Santana

El Niño is from warmer sea temperatures but that is not the case in Newport Harbor. While cruising to the American Legion pump-out dock recently, the water temp on Sun Dance showed 55.9-degrees. Brrrrr!

My brother and I have had a long-standing slogan, that we natives have seen folks come and we’ve seen them go along the waterfront. And, many times, we’ve seen them come back again. This was the case when I noticed a large, muscularly dark man shopping in Von’s. As my vision moved up it was the Newport Harbor former boater and ocean front homeowner, Dennis Rodman.

I couldn’t help myself and asked “are you visiting or back again?” The soft spoken gentleman stated he was living inland. I asked if he still owned the Reggie Fountain go-fast “Sexual Chocolate” that he cruised Newport Harbor so frequently. He said that soon his smaller boat will arrive from Miami so he will again become a local boater. I responded as I do to so many boaters, “see you around the waterfront.”

Other notable celebrity vessels in Newport Harbor were Santana, Humphrey Bogart’s second love (the first being Lauren Bacall), which he and Bacall sailed out of Newport Harbor Yacht Club, and John Wayne’s beloved yacht The Wild Goose, which is still in Newport Harbor and available for charter through Hornblower on Mariners Mile.

More on Mariners Mile in my next column.

 

Sea Ya,

Skipper Steve

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